It’s Not My Fault!

IMG_0490Chris and I work out most mornings while watching different television series we get via Netflix. Right now, we’re into season eight of Bones. This morning’s episode, while rather humorous at times, was a classic example of an epidemic issue in our culture today. A woman was arrested for contracting a hit on her husband, only he killed the wrong man—an identical twin (yeah, preposterous, but imaginative). Her response, “I shouldn’t be charged with his murder. It’s not my fault the guy I contracted killed the wrong guy.” Sounds ludicrous, but it seems to be the theme these days.

When my daughter was young, her catch phrase was, “It’s not my fault.” It didn’t matter what the situation was, these were the first words she’d blurt. My response was usually, “Then whose fault is it?” I would go through the process of explaining to her that it’s not about assigning blame, but taking responsibility. It took years for her to understand the difference, but, thankfully, she did. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for many.

Recently, my husband and I have been in situations where we have a first-hand seat to this behavior—and it’s not coming from children. It seems our culture has learned the art of finger-pointing in order to sidestep responsibility—and most often, it’s financial, where greed plays a large part. In one such situation, Chris bought a piece of office equipment—a very expensive piece of equipment—that arrived not working properly. It’s been one nightmare after another trying to get the manufacturer (a man, not a corporation) to take responsibility. Instead, he’s foisting the blame on anything and everything he can to deflect his own culpability in this situation, and has told so many lies in the process, it’s doubtful he remembers the truth anymore. The last thing we want is to jump onto the ever-increasing litigation bandwagon—a very crowded bandwagon.

I often think of that famous case where a woman bought a hot cup of coffee from McDonald’s, spilled it on herself, then sued them for her own negligence—and won! And let’s not forget the number of people who have sued the tobacco company when their own smoking resulted in cancer. We’ve become a nation that deflects responsibility—and don’t even get me started on politicians or the policies that are enacted to encourage irresponsibility.

I lost sight of this myself, when my ex-husband abandoned our marriage. Somehow, if I could believe it wasn’t my fault, then the shame wouldn’t stick. But the fact was, I had blame in the breakdown of our marriage, as well. It wasn’t until I was able to accept it that I could begin to heal and come to a place of forgiveness. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but unless we’re able to take responsibility for our part in life, we’ll never truly be able to operate in an ethical manner, nor will we learn from past mistakes.

According to, honesty as a character quality is a sign of the Spirit’s work in a person’s soul. Those who aren’t willing to take responsibility for their actions, mistakes or life choices, can’t truly grow in Christ.

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it , and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. James 1:23-26

2 thoughts on “It’s Not My Fault!

  1. This is the theme I find over and over and it infuriates me that people cannot take responsibility for their actions or their words. By the way, I love the picture.

  2. This reminds me of something I read recently that stated: “What would we see, if when we looked in the mirror, it reflected our character instead of our face? Would we recognize ourselves, or would we be shocked as to what type of character we actually have, as opposed to what type of character we think we have?”
    The only way to really know is to be honest with ourselves and examine whether our behavior reflects what Christ would do in all situations we are ‘faced’ with. I really enjoyed your post Jennifer!

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