May 14, 2008

The Blame Game

Genesis 3:1-13

“The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Genesis 3:12


Just recently I was asked to meet with a couple whose marriage was in trouble. The wife spent half an hour explaining what was wrong with her husband, and when she was through, the husband listed all the ways his wife had failed him. They were playing the familiar blame game invented by Adam long ago when he blamed his wife and said to God, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

In my forty years of ministry I have seen many people playing the blame game. But it’s time to stop, forget about what someone else did or did not do, and take a close look at ourselves. When things are not what they ought to be, we need to ask ourselves, “What did I do to cause the breakdown in our marriage?” and, “What do I have to do to make things better?” Unless we start by looking at ourselves and pointing the finger at ourselves, there will be no healing. In almost every marriage breakdown two people are at fault, and it takes two people to bring renewal.

Take a look at yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to your own faults. You may discover that compared to the splinter in your spouse’s eye, you have a plank in your own eye (Matthew 7:4). Make sure you remove the plank before trying to get at the splinter.

Lord, many of us are experts at blaming someone else. Help us to look at ourselves honestly, and give us the strength and the wisdom to change. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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