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The Blame Game


picture of hands of elderly couple
An elderly man was struck by a car as he was walking across the road. The impact to his head caused him to be comatose for two days before finally regaining consciousness. When he opened his eyes, his wife was there beside him. He held her hand and said meaningfully, "Edna, no matter what, you have always been by my side. When I was a struggling university student, I failed again and again. You were always there beside me, encouraging me to keep on trying."

Edna squeezed his hands as he continued. "When I went for all the major interviews and failed to clinch any of the jobs, you were there beside me, cutting out yet more job ads for me to pursue." He continued, "Then I started to work at a little firm where I finally got to handle a big contract. I blew it because of one little mistake. And there you were, beside me. Then after being laid off for a long time, I finally got another job, but I was never promoted and my hard work was not recognized. Therefore, I've remained in the same position from the day I joined the company till now. And through it all, you've been there beside me." Her eyes brimmed with tears as she listened to her husband.

"And now I've had an accident and almost died, and when I woke up, there you were, right beside me. There's something I'd really like to say to you after all these years." Sobbing with emotion, she was ready to bask in his praise. Her husband proclaimed, "Edna, I think you really bring me bad luck!"

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While we might find that story humorous, it also reveals an aspect of our human nature that isn't so funny - our tendency to blame others for our failures and misdeeds. Edna's husband was blaming his poor, faithful wife for his own ineptitude and failures. We inherited our uncanny ability to shift blame from Adam and Eve. I was just reading in the book of Genesis the other day and noticed in Genesis 3:11-13 that after God asked, "Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" Adam replied "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Then when God questioned Eve about this, she answered, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

We all have descended from these two people who immediately after the original sin started to blame others for what they had done. In blaming Eve for his disobedience to God's simple, clear command, Adam implied that ultimately it was God's fault since He had given him Eve. Then Eve blamed the serpent. And the blame game has been played now for millennia with no signs of going out of vogue as other fads in games come and go.

It's been fascinating to watch the blame game being played out on a national scale with our current economic debacle. Just this morning I ran across an excellent article by Chris Bixby, a former student of mine, who has explained things simply enough for even me to understand. After explaining how we got to this point, he talks about the blame game going on and draws some apt conclusions and applications. If you'd like to read his article, The Anatomy of a Bailout, click here.

I'm interested in any comments my readers might have about the current economic situation or the blame game.

quotation...

"The sins of our land are really our own sins." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

A person who can smile when things go wrong has maybe just thought of someone to blame it on.


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34 Comments on “The Blame Game”

  1. #1 Andrew
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 10:29 am

    I think Chris’s article reflected my personal opinion of this whole deal. Whether it will all work is the $64,000 (or should I say $700,000,000,000) question. The risk seems enormous, but many economically saavy types (of which I am not one) have expressed that in theory, the bailout could be very good for the national economy in the long run.

    Of course, the theory doesn’t always work, and planning for the long run is not usually the focus of the average consumer or his congressional representative. I’m not thrilled about the governmental intervention, but I’m increasingly convinced that it’s necessary–or at least better than the alternative.

  2. #2 Chris
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Thanks Rob for posting that article from Chris Bixby. I knew Chris in college and appreciate a clear voice I can trust in the midst of all the media confusion surrounding this debt crisis. What he had to say made a lot more sense than what I could figure out from all the news reports.

  3. #3 Rob
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 10:42 am

    @Andrew – Thanks for your thoughts on this. It all makes me think of an old French management saying, “It’s all very well in practice, but it will never work in theory.” If I give it too much thought, it makes my head very tired. :-) I’m glad there are finer business minds than mine (which includes most of the human race!) who are figuring all this stuff out!

  4. #4 B.J.
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Commenting on the poll, if you had included computer, or rather, internet, then there would be no contest!

  5. #5 Rob
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    @Chris – That’s what I thought too, Chris – finally, something I can understand about this whole nasty situation!

    @B.J. – Sorry I didn’t think of that for the poll. I can edit polls, but I hate to change anything mid-stream since those who have already voted one way might have voted for an item added later. It’s best for everyone to be voting on the same items.

  6. #6 Guillaume
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    A really good item for the poll would have been the clock. Is being able to tell time really good for us?

  7. #7 Cathy Lane
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Without electricity, most of the things on the list would not have been discovered/invented or would be useless.

  8. #8 Rob
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    @Guillaume – The clock has definitely changed our lives in the US, but in some countries of the world, France included, much of life is not lived strictly by the clock. In more places than not, life just happens – so I’m not sure how much of the world the clock has actually changed.

    @Cathy – You’re right about that! I almost didn’t put electricity in the poll for that very reason, but it’s definitely been a big life-changer since it’s made so many other things possible.

  9. #9 Andrew
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    I would vote for the printing press, since the others have changed the quality of our lives, but the printing press has been instrumental in changing how we think about ourselves. Popular culture and media are two artifacts of modern culture that would not have developed without printing. Education would probably still be limited to a small elite. The printing press has essentially allowed us to mass-produce ideas, for better or for worse. And ideas have consequences.

  10. #10 Jeff
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    When my children were young, they were very misguided in their desires to claim ownership of anything and everything. There was one instance where we were travelling and I missed the exit on the freeway because I wasn’t paying attention to the signs. A discussion ensued between my wife and me, which brought me to apologize for not paying closer attention to what I was doing. As I apologized, I simply stated…”It’s my fault.” My two children, both toddlers at the time and both still learning how to use the English language properly, were in their car seats behind us. As I made the statement claiming the blame, my son suddenly shouted out…”No, it’s MY fault!!” My daughter, not wanting her brother to have anything that she didn’t have, responded just as loudly…”No, it’s MY fault.” At this point, an argument began, leading to tears! (Tears of laughter from my wife and me, frustration and anger from the kids.)

    I finally was able to solve the problem by proclaiming…”You can both have it!!” This made them settle down, content that they both had the blame for my mistake.

    So, perhaps I should just say…”The present financial debacle is my fault.” Maybe it will catch on and others will also lay claim to it.

  11. #11 pelf
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    I have learned, fairly recently, that I should never blame another person for my own mistakes. I shall have to take all the blame, and that opens up my eyes to things in my surroundings because “being blamed” isn’t a nice feeling.

  12. #12 Rob
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    @Andrew – I tend to agree with you. Gutenberg’s discovery of movable type revolutionized the world. Books and learning that were once available only to the elite became accessible to the unwashed masses. Who knows if any of the other inventions or discoveries would have happened by our time if it were not for the printed word in the hands of the common man.

    @Jeff and Pelf – I laud you both for your willingness to accept blame for your mistakes. That’s what is called personal responsibility. Jeff, I hope your kids are still as eager to own (up to) their faults. Pelf, you are absolutely right, it is a horrible feeling to be blamed for something we didn’t do. Whenever that happens to me and I begin to feel sorry for myself when I’m blamed for something I’m not guilty of, I think of how the Lord Jesus Christ suffered incredibly much and incredibly quietly for our faults, not at all His own.

  13. #13 Darryl
    on Sep 26th, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    If they want to pay for this blunder with ‘taxpayer’ dollars??

    How about they not take any taxes out of our paychecks, but we are ‘forced’ to put half of that money in the bank savings account and the other half we must spend to boost the economy…. The rich bankers get a lot of extra money in their banks, the businesses can stay open cause people are buying, and we actually get something out of the deal…..

  14. #14 Rob
    on Sep 26th, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    @Darryl – Interesting concept. Do you think you could really get our Congress-critters to go for your plan?

    I’m afraid they’re happy to have at least this amount of control over us and are eager to gain even more control. In fact, they’ll not be satisfied until we give them all our money (read: their money in their minds) and then they’ll give us back as much as they think we need to live on.

  15. #15 Kathie
    on Sep 26th, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Hi Rob,

    I voted for gunpowder. My reason is that, without gunpowder, we never would have been able to steal this land from the Native Americans. Can you imagine this world without the USA as a superpower?

  16. #16 Rob
    on Sep 26th, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    @Kathie – Wow! I never thought of that angle on things. :-)

  17. #17 Dave Newell
    on Sep 27th, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    I almost voted for gunpowder, but I decided against it. I thought about when it was discovered and realized there was a connection between gunpowder and the printing press.

    Gunpowder was discovered in the 9th century by the Chinese (some think it may have been the Arabs), but it didn’t make it’s mark until the 15th century. That’s a long time from discovery to practicality!!

    Finally, in the 1400s, gunpowder proved to be more and more useful when Europe got a hold of it and began to steadily improve it. These improvements were taken back to China and other nations by missionaries. Perhaps the gunpowder was used to wake up sleepy churchgoers…

    So how does that relate to the printing press? The printing press was invented around 1450, in time to help mass produce and spread the ever-changing formulas of gunpowder. Up until the time of the printing press, nations had to either get the handwritten formulas – which were rare – or be invaded by someone who used gunpowder. The latter option was probably not the preferred method of acquiring the formula.

    It can be argued that without the printing press, the formula for gunpowder may not have advanced as quickly as it did. You have to admit, it’s strange that for many centuries the formula remained quite stagnant, but then we see an explosion of advancements shortly after the printing press was invented.

    So, after thoroughly reading way too far into the question, I voted for the printing press.

  18. #18 Rob
    on Sep 28th, 2008 at 8:13 am

    @Dave – I love the historical (hysterical?) perspective that you bring to this! It’s so representative of what people can find on your site! Thanks for taking the time to bring several of the poll items into sharper focus for us. It’s good to know that with you, it wasn’t just a shot in the dark. :-)

  19. #19 Michael
    on Sep 28th, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Personally, I’m not in favor of the bailout. The Great Depression so permanently scarred our nation that we live in dreadful terror of something like that happening again. Yet, even in the Great Depression, the government did step in to do something and that didn’t help. It took World War II to bring us out of the Depression. So, what would be best is for the economy to bottom out and for all of us to suffer for a little while and then things will get better since we will all realize that we need to be more responsible for our spending and saving practices. A government bailout will only encourage people to continue in their wasteful and foolish practices. In other words we need to cure the disease and not just manage the symptoms.

  20. #20 Sue
    on Sep 28th, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    I enjoyed the article, thanks for sharing. My concern is that our government seems to have a tendency to take something that should work – and turn it into a big mess. Debt is a huge problem. The national public debt was $9,856,376,080,999.82 as of Sept. 28 (source: US National Debt Clock; http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/). Our entire country, government included, needs to stop overspending, pay off debt, and live within their means. However, based on history, the likelihood of that happening does not look promising. Dave Ramsey for president!

  21. #21 Rob
    on Sep 29th, 2008 at 6:17 am

    @Michael and Sue – I tend to agree with you both about not favoring the bailout. This little nagging voice keeps quoting Ronald Reagan, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Not having great confidence in the people in Washington, I am very distrustful of almost anything that they think is a good plan. We’ll just have to wait and see. Ultimately the Lord is in control as He superintends over even the machinations of our Congress critters, working out His plan for us as a nation and us as individuals. May the Lord give us the grace we will need to live with whatever the fallout of all this is. Heaven’s looking sweeter and sweeter all the time!

  22. #22 Vikki
    on Sep 29th, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Just a comment on Darryl’s post. Aren’t we already being forced by the government to put a chunk of our earnings into a “savings account”? And, that account is even less secure than putting it in a bank. It’s called Social Security!

    What really amazes me is the billions we’re spending on the war in Iraq. Our government kept crying about how short they were on money before the war started – so, where was all this “extra” money sitting? And, if all this wasn’t being spent before the war on other things, where did it come from? Sorry, personal gripe . . .

    Anyway, back to the issue at hand. There had to have been tons and tons of red flags waiving in the faces of the government finance committees and countless others in the know for a long, long time before things starting falling apart. Funny how, all of a sudden, they noticed it.

    Concerning the bail out. Government has too many cooks in the kitchen. Anyone who’s ever worked on a committee knows that too many people really hinders progress. It takes longer to decide anything because there are too many opinions on how things should be done and can often lead to the original goal being forgotten or altered – like asking for a horse but ending up with a camel. I just hope this bail out they’ve come up with isn’t a camel, or worse, a turkey! (“What’s wrong with a turkey, didn’t you ask us to develop something that eats grain?”)

    I am SOOOOOOO thankful that I have a Heavenly Father watching out for me. Whatever happens is out of my control, but not out of His!

  23. #23 Rob
    on Sep 29th, 2008 at 10:17 am

    @Vikki – I share your frustrations and concerns. I guess the government has great printing presses that are going to churn out more money that has nothing to back it. Our dollar will probably become even weaker. I would be really upset if I didn’t know my Heavenly Father is in control and that nothing that happens takes Him by surprise. Some believers get so bent out of shape by some of what’s happening, forgetting that the Bible tells us that things will get worse and worse as we reach the end of the age and Antichrist comes on the scene with the promise of straightening everything out.

  24. #24 Greg
    on Sep 29th, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    The exposé by Chris of the financial fraud being perpetrated on the American people is 1 inch deep and 1 mile wide.

    What about:
    1. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against….
    2. Satan and his one-world conspiracy to rule the world as god?
    3. The conspiratorial Federal Reserve Bank and its minion Central Banks in every country of the world who are accountable to no one. The golden rule of finance, “He who owns the gold rules.”
    4. The fact that the Federal Reserve is not part of the U.S. government, but is the power behind the throne.
    5. That this financial “melt-down” is contrived and instituted to continue the enslavement of the American people and prepare for the coming anti-Christ/tribulation period.

    Instead of following the money trail and using his Bible, this born-again accountant is reading the ripples on the pond while the earthquake looms below.

  25. #25 Rob
    on Sep 29th, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    @Greg – I know that this financial dilemma we and the whole world are currently facing is extremely complex. There are probably many more dynamics in play than were mentioned in your comment. I would like to say, though, that I appreciate the fact that Chris addressed Biblically the things that individual believers have a responsibility to be doing in their own personal finances. The things that you mention are not really anything that any of us is capable of doing anything about. Frankly I don’t know of a clear reference to the Federal Reserve in Scripture.

    Personally I look at all of these events as extremely exciting! Believers say that they believe Bible prophecy – the things that God tells us in His Word will happen in the end times, yet some act as if they can or even should do something to thwart it from happening! Am I missing something here?! As for me, I look forward to Christ’s return at any moment, especially as I see more and more of what He told us would happen happening. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

  26. #26 Glenna
    on Oct 2nd, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    The bailout makes us a total socialistic nation. Other than that, read why the blame game is important…
    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_100108/content/01125110.guest.html

  27. #27 Rob
    on Oct 2nd, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    @Glenna – The bailout would make our nation more socialistic, but our government needs to make some more dominoes fall before we’re “totally socialistic.” Some of those dominoes would be the health-care industry and more of the corporate world.

    In most of our recent presidential elections, I have felt as if I had two choices – the fast track to socialism or the slow track. That’s definitely the case this year.

  28. #28 Glenna
    on Oct 2nd, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    That will probably be coming soon, now that the mental health thing has been added to the bill.

    Have you read the 451 pages of the bill? Very interesting. Lots of pork!

  29. #29 Rob
    on Oct 2nd, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    @Glenna – I haven’t read the bill, but I heard a lot about it on the radio today. I was very disappointed in McCain for voting yes for the Senate version of the bailout. He has “gone on the record” that, when he’s president, he will veto bills that come to him full of pork. Yet he just voted yes on the bailout bill that is chocked full of pork! I wish I could vote for his running mate instead of for him. I guess it’s a package deal, though.

  30. #30 Sharon
    on Oct 3rd, 2008 at 9:57 am

    We do have a Christian duty to exercise our rights as American citizens. We can still contact our State Reps., urge them to vote “no” on the bailout and HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE on Nov. 4…We should still fight against evil, isn’t that part of our calling? Remember Wilberforce? England, standing up to Hitler? Praise God, He will return and make all things right. But, ’till then, should we not stand up for the Right and at least make use of the rights we still have?

  31. #31 JLG
    on Oct 3rd, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    so we’re getting our sound reason from Rush, are we?

  32. #32 Rob
    on Oct 4th, 2008 at 7:18 am

    @Sharon – I agree completely about doing our civic duty to vote. I try to stay as informed as I can stand to be so that I can cast my votes based on what I know. It bothers me to hear all the “get out the vote” stuff that happens at this time of year. I often comment out loud, “Yeah, we need more uninformed voters turning out!” In the final analysis, though, after I’ve done what is my responsibility, it is the Lord Himself who superintends the outcome of each election. He can keep those uninformed voters away through various means, and I’m confident that He even changes the minds of some voters – inexplicably for them – so that the outcome is just what He wants for our locality, state, and country. May His will be done!

    @JLG – I’m glad that Glenna posted that link. Whenever I listen to Rush (which isn’t often or long due to my teaching schedule) I’m amazed at how insightful he is! I don’t always agree with him and I don’t always like some of his phraseology, but I do hear a refreshingly different angle on things that causes me to think and to research. And that’s not a bad thing.

  33. #33 Karen
    on Mar 24th, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    The blame game…I agree, Rob, that this has been going on since the Garden of Eden. It is our privilege as a child of God to practice personal responsibility and parent ourselves–in other words not blame anyone else for any of our actions, thoughts, or emotions. I enjoyed Chris’ article on the financial situation today. In response to all of this, I recently heard a great message that proposed the WE own nothing. It is all God’s anyway and He lets us be good stewards of each item we use and enjoy.

    I’m not sure if anyone else will feel this way, but much of what is happening now must come to pass. The return of Jesus Christ is literally around the corner. What we are seeing is the stage being set for One World Government and One World Religion that will come to pass when we as born again people have been removed from this old world. Our sovereign God is still on the throne and still in control!

  34. #34 Rob
    on Mar 26th, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    @Karen – Thanks for your comment. It’s refreshing to hear people reaffirming personal responsibility in an age when many seem to want to shirk their own responsibility or to make irresponsible people feel like they are victims. I agree that what is happening must come to pass. I am convinced that we are seeing end-time prophecy fulfilled before our eyes!


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