The words of the title are an adjusted old proverb but as true today as it ever has been. So much so, that it is appropriate to begin the year with a quip to encourage you not to play the “blame or excuse game.”
Ever notice how everyone is quick to blame and/or make excuses? Politicians blame the other party. Batters strike out and blame the umpire. Kickers miss a field goal and blame the holder. Children bring home poor grades and blame the teacher. Or grownups have a bad day at work and blame the supervisor or worse come up with a thousand excuses. Well, we are all guilty of playing the blame and/or excuse game, and we must first admit that it comes naturally, after all our first parents came up with an excuse and blamed instead of taking responsibility. Notice what happened in the garden after Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit.
Genesis 3:8–13 (ESV) — 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
It’s easy for us to see how lame it is to blame:
“It’s that woman you gave me.”
“The serpent deceived me.”
Who have you blamed recently or over the past year for something you messed up? If there was a resounding resolution that is needed by all of us for the coming year, it is to resolve to take responsibility for our actions and the outcomes of our negligence, procrastination, or failures and not try to lay the blame on someone else. That is called integrity.
Proverbs 20:7 (ESV) — 7 The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!
As the negative action of blaming is passed along to the next generation so a man who takes responsibility, and even admits his errors, thereby blesses his children and those around him. Interesting, the very thing that drives us to blame is the feeling it will make us look weak to admit our faults, but the reality is that the admission of wrong or failure is a sign of strength and pays dividends in the long run.
Just as Adam became lame in his laying blame to his wife, so that attitude was passed along to his children as we see in the life of his son, Cain. When God did not have respect to Cain or his offering, he evidently blamed his brother Abel, so he killed him.
Let us go back to the “original blame” when God confronted Adam. Not only did he blame Eve, but he also made an excuse by really blaming God when he implied by excuse that everything would have worked out fine had God not given him that woman.
Genesis 3:12 (ESV) — 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”
The point is this: when we make excuses, we are pointing to “happenings outside our control” which means we are finger pointing at God’s providence. So, any excuse is pointing the figure at God and blaming Him.
Just as we deemed above in how blaming becomes a trait that is passed along as a curse upon those around us and particularly the next generation, so does excuse making as one takes blaming to the next level of blaming God in failing in His providence.
If you are looking to work on a needed change for the coming year – step up and take responsibility, admit your faults and errors, work on changing or be lame by blaming someone else or just as bad “excuse making” – the choice is yours.