Faults are like headlights on a car; those of others always seem more glaring than our own! So, we become fault-finders. When we’re really good at it, it’s like the faults of those around us stick out like Rudolph’s red nose. We can’t (or won’t) avoid them. But what does it get us?
Finding fault seeks to assign blame, and blame, in turn threatens punishment and generates feelings of guilt and, more particularly, shame. I often wonder why we feel we must assign blame for everything that happens. Why can’t we accept that it doesn’t matter who left the refrigerator open, or who forgot to buy toilet tissue? Of course, there are big issues and someone needs to take responsibility when a fault has a major effect on others. The key here is ‘take responsibility’. No one wins when we insist on pointing fingers and blaming instead of finding a solution for the problem.
Fault-finding looks to ascribe blame for some real or imagined misdeed. Fault-finding deflects responsibility off the accuser (and onto the accused), and, in turn, it spawns a defensive reaction in the accused in a further attempt to avoid responsibility. Whether you’re the accuser or the defendant, the motivation is the same: avoiding (denying) responsibility. The results wind up the same, too: burying the situation in so much confusion (denial and counter-denial, he-said / she-said) that the ‘truth’ becomes hopelessly obscured. As a result, all change becomes pointless.
We live in a society where fault-finding and placing blame has become a way of life. Instead of saying, “I lost my book/binder/homework” students say “Someone stole my book/binder/homework.” Instead of saying “We’re to blame for the mess our government is in,” politicians say, “They (anyone else besides my group) are to blame.” Even Christians are often heard saying “The devil made me do it.” No, you did it all by yourself!
When we realize that our choices today pave the road for our lives tomorrow and take responsibility for our own actions, we can start making right decisions and stop looking to blame others. We have the ability to rid ourselves of this destructive enemy and live a quiet, peaceful life, loving others the way we should.
Jesus gives this instruction: Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others. Why, then, do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? How dare you say to your brother, ‘Please, let me take that speck out of your eye,’ when you have a log in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5