By Melissa Rich
Dear Lord, I want to bring Joe before you tonight. Lord YOU know how difficult he can be and how stubborn. Lord YOU KNOW how hard he is to deal with and how many times I have extended myself towards him. YOU KNOW how often I have tried to talk to him and yet he continues to ignore my needs. Deal with him Lord. Change his heart and make him more like You. Cause him to see what I am saying and make him change his ways Lord. I just can’t take it anymore. If You don’t do something, I just don’t know what I will do. Amen.
I am hoping that you are still reading and that something felt a bit “off” as you read through that prayer. Did anyone notice that the entire prayer was centered around how “good” SHE is and how “bad” HE is? Did anyone notice how freely she invited God to change “him” but never considered that maybe “she” is the one who needs to change? Did anyone notice how unloving her prayer was? How self-centered? She wasn’t praying for “his” well-being but for her own satisfaction. There is a very big difference between an effective and an ineffective prayer. There is a verse that says whatsoever you ask in “MY” name… meaning, “in accordance with Him”. Not just using His name to call it forth. If it isn’t His heart and His mind, it isn’t in “His” name.
Let’s talk about the BLAME GAME. The object of this game is to avoid all responsibility no matter what. Never admit that you are wrong. Never consider what you could improve. Never evaluate yourself for what may need adjustments. Always point the finger at the other person. Always focus on everything they are doing wrong rather than anything they are doing right. Always stand your ground no matter what because in all things, YOU ARE ALWAYS RIGHT. This is a very good way to destroy any relationship, if that relationship ever had a chance of getting off the ground in the first place. An argument arises and the conversation goes something like this,
BLAMER: Well if YOU would stop _____ and YOU would start ______, maybe then _____. “Blanks” because there are a million scenarios like this. If only YOU would, then everything would be different. That is the obvious message. Meanwhile, the one saying “if only YOU would…” is clearly focused only on the “other” person. Their entire position is one of blame. Everything that happens to them is because of that “other” person and the funny thing about the “blamer” is that eventually, even what they choose to do becomes the fault of the “other” person. The “blamer” never takes personal responsibility and everything that happens to them, around them or as a result of their own choices is someone “else's” responsibility. This person is clearly unaware of the power they possess to change their own life.
It is a mindset that some fall in to and if we want to be honest, it is a “self-righteous” mindset. They insist that there is nothing “they” can do to help the situation because they have clearly done nothing wrong. While this may appease the person for a moment while they are justifying everything in their head, they will find that until they identify that “they” are the common denominator in all their drama, they will continue to have troubled relationships that never satisfy. There is something that happens when we focus all our attention on the other…we miss the opportunity to grow.
Why are we writing this series? Because we believe there are some very basic things that people struggle with in relationships that have solutions. By informing others, we hope to help you to have more fruitful and emotionally healthy relationships. Blaming is potentially toxic to any relationship but it has a solution.
People who blame often forget to ask themselves a simple question, “What part do I play in this? Is anything I did either creating or exacerbating this situation?” That simple, humble question could save a lot of people a lot of trouble in their relationships.
Now if you change your mind and decide, I don’t want to play the “blame game” anymore, it isn’t working for me, the solution is this, “begin to take personal responsibility for everything you say and do as well as the outcomes.” Stop making everything that is wrong in your life everyone else’s fault. Stop using others as an excuse for your wrong or bad choices. What “he” did to you 5 years ago is NOT the reason you are still acting this way. “You” have “chosen” to continue in this pattern for your life. Now, it’s all YOU baby!
Here are some of the ways a person who is taking personal responsibility will act:
--A person who is taking personal responsibility takes responsibility for their choices, actions and reactions. They do not make excuses, for that which they did that was inappropriate or down right wrong. They are humble enough to correct themselves and maybe even apologize when necessary.
--A person who is taking personal responsibility for themselves and all their actions would ask, “is there anything I could have done differently that would have caused the situation to turn out better?” Instead of continually dwelling on what the other person could have done better, this person is pondering their own room for improvement. As they do this, they find it easier to extend grace because they realize how much grace they have needed to get to where they are now.
--A person who takes personal responsibility is more interested in the integrity of their own personal growth than they are about seeing to it that someone else is doing everything a certain way. They spend their time asking God to help them to change and improve “themselves” so they can be more of an asset in the relationship. They understand that the only one they have the power to change is themselves.
--Most of all, a person who is taking personal responsibility does not feel that terrible continual sense of being out of control. They do not feel compelled to try and control everything around them. They focus their energies on being the best individual they can be because they know that is what “they” have to bring to the table. That is what “they” can offer to the relationship.
So now, you get to decide. Think about your relationships. How many situations do you find yourself in where you are pointing the finger continually outward instead of turning your gaze inward for introspection? Without a doubt, blaming others will leave you miserable because it gives all your power away. Taking personal responsibility will both empower and mature you because it is you placing a demand on the best that you have to offer. At the end of the day, you will be able to give an account for yourself and close that chapter because you had the power to both choose and correct that which you were unhappy with all the while, leaving that other person in the hands of the same God who has been helping you to change and improve your ways. It’s not always easy, but this is a far better way than the other.
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