There is no place in the believer’s life for blame. Blame is never justified and it never serves a positive function. It is as old as Adam and as prevalent as sin. It’s the way we divert anything incoming that might humble us or help us face the truth about ourselves and what we are doing wrong. It’s a diversion. If we are charged with something, right or not, blame throws back something on the other person, and since we are all sinners who fall short of the glory of God, you can always find something to blame someone else for.
You cannot create a healthy environment for change with lots of blame present. The way out of this blame-throwing cycle is to take responsibility for our own faults and leave the other’s up to the Lord. This doesn’t mean we don’t point out someone’s faults in love. In an environment where we are all trying to grow, there is a place for this. But that isn’t blame. That’s accountability. The prophet Nathan made David face his sin, and it was the loving thing to do.
You can tell you are blaming because blame always has a piece of self-justification built into it. Blame is trying to turn the spotlight off us and onto someone else as a means of self-protection. We don’t want to admit we are wrong so we find a greater wrong in someone else to get the focus off of us. It’s a diversion. Nathan wasn’t justifying himself when he pointed his finger at David; he was helping David face the truth about himself.
Marti is often like a Nathan to me. She forces me to see the truth about what I am doing wrong, or what responsibilities I am avoiding. She also tells me. It’s out front. She’s not hiding any of her own wrongdoing behind this. She is genuinely seeking to help me overcome my sin. That’s why it’s out front. She has nothing to hide. That’s another way you can spot blame in your life — it is usually hidden — it’s harbored inside. It’s a means by which we fend off legitimate attacks by quietly justifying ourselves and turning the light onto someone else’s errors. Blame never helps the other person; it’s only intent is to help me, and though I might think it does, it does not. It makes everything worse, driving my sin deeper inside as I incorrectly justify myself.
If David had quietly harbored resentment for Nathan accusing him and secretly finding something he could blame Nathan for, nothing would have changed. David would have remained deeply intwined in his sin and he never would have received the forgiveness of God. And we never would have had the beautiful words of Psalm 51 to guide us into our own confession.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.