Whenever we face problems, it’s easier to blame others than take responsibility for them ourselves. And because blaming someone or something other than ourselves is so much easier, this is exactly what people often do.
Blaming our circumstances or someone close to us is appealing because it gives us cover for our failings. But doing so takes away hope for any change for the better.
The tendency to refuse responsibility for problems and shift the blame on others goes all the way back to the garden of Eden. After the first man and woman ate the forbidden fruit, Adam blamed his wife, and Eve blamed the serpent.
Although Adam and Eve portrayed themselves as victims, they were filled with shame and hid themselves from God. If it were not for God’s pursuit of them, they would have remained in this hopeless state of shame. But God confronted them with the truth, and brought them mercy so they could move forward with their lives.
The blame-shifting approach modeled by Adam and Eve is practiced daily as people face their own personal difficulties. It is far more common for people to explain away their wrong behavior than own it themselves.
The result? Multitudes spend their days stuck in hopelessness and shame.
This problem is reinforced in that society discourages personal responsibility and encourages blame-shifting in various ways. It used to be, for example, if someone had a drinking problem he’d be called a drunkard and exhorted to change his ways. Today, someone with a drinking problem is said to have a disease and is urged to get treatment.
This sort of approach is intended to be caring as it tends to soften the blow on the person who is afflicted. But the net effect is that it takes away hope.