April 2016 This blog is an excerpt from Devaney Rae’s book, Countless Joys: The Place Beyond Tears (Westbow Press, 2015).
Each of us must learn to peacefully walk away from the Blame and Shame game that others choose to play with our thoughts and feelings.
Focusing on the characteristics of emotional intelligence helps us to mature in our emotions as we target specific areas for growth and development. When we fail to actively pursue this maturation process, we naturally and almost subconsciously interact with others based on our self-will (justifying ourselves because we want our will – our way).
Because of this, one of the most common self-willed emotional behaviors is the use of blame.
Blaming others for their shortcomings, for things that happen, or for the way situations turn out reflects one of the lowest behavioral levels of emotional maturity. Sadly, when there are significant changes and challenges in life, blame is often used as the main communication approach to protect territories and titles.
In reality, the behavior of blame usually involves self-justification and self-defense. These efforts most often are used to push all of the negative attention onto someone or something else.
In other words, the barrage of blame actively seeks to create a chaotic smokescreen that falsely shields the one who is blaming from responsibility.
No Problems Solved, Ever
Altogether, the activities associated with blame create a merry-go-round of useless, ineffective behavior that contributes to the relationship drama that most of us vehemently dislike.
And, by the way, blame has never solved a single problem in the whole world! But it has created a trainload of problems for the majority of people who have lived longer than three years.
Many of these blame-related problems take up residence in the hearts of people and become a big part of their accumulated, unresolved hurts. Honestly, it takes time and effort to sort out the lying confusion that blame creates. Thus the merry-go-round continues to spin because we know that hurting people hurt people!
After my battles terminal cancer and all of the other life trials in the same seven-year period of time, the Lord has profoundly helped me to understand that every detail of all He has brought me through is not required to reflect perfect behavior on my part in order to help others.
When did I begin believing that my faults and failures in dealing with cancer and the relationship challenges in the same time period disqualified me from sharing the miraculous story about all God did to bring me through the experience?
What a lie from the enemy in his dart throwing schemes to cast blame and shame upon me!
Biblical Proof: We Qualify to Help Others
Isn’t it true that most stories about the lives of men and women in the Word of God contain the raw truths about how they failed?
For instance Paul was murdering Christians, and Peter was an unfaithful friend to Jesus, and Martha blamed her sister for being lazy.
Even so, I still read these stories with great amazement about how God did a mighty work in and through each of their lives.
Their stories encourage my heart and strengthen my faith. I always think the best of Paul and Peter and Martha, rather than dwelling on their faults.
So why did I believe Satan’s lie that others were thinking the worst of me because I was not perfect in every area of my response to cancer’s fury and relationship’s failures?
I don’t respond with blame and accusations toward Paul and Peter and Martha and hold them hostage to their pasts. Quite the opposite! I read about them with thankfulness that I am not the only one who fails in my reactions to pain and sorrow, when I really want to succeed by responding in a great way.
Furthermore, I love reading about the full circle of life—the good, the bad, and the ugly—that Jesus carried Paul, Peter, and Martha through. It encourages me and gives me hope that He will do the same for me in spite of my weaknesses, faults, and failures.
Consigning the Past to the Past
Through rational thinking and studying the lives of those like Paul, Peter, and Martha, I experienced a once-and-for-all moment; I decided to consign the past to the past. At that point, I moved to my new future and set up my home there.
I refused to continue analyzing the past by attempting to answer a lifetime of accusations that begin with ‘why didn’t you’ and ‘you should have’.
I realized the past only speaks in one language: Accusing Criticism. And that kind of language was not nice to me. Most of the rudeness of the language of the past is because I embellished it by being so harsh on myself about my faults and failures.
This harshness was mostly because my heart was still so wounded from unresolved hurts that I could not trust my emotions to feel clearly.
Along with being so harsh on myself, I had let the voices of others from my past slather their gooey blame all over my mind and heart.
Even though I knew that blame has never solved a single problem, I still allowed it to tie its ugly, misshapen bow around my head, as though it were fashionable looking sitting up there!
The truth about failure and fault (regardless of who gets to wear the bow) is that neither one is fatal, nor are they final! As long as I have breath in my body and blood flowing through my veins, there is still a future purpose to fulfill! At some point, I just had to say, “Enough! No more words from you, Mr. Blame. I am so done with you, forever.”
Firing Mr. Blame: Hiring Grace and Mercy
So, I accepted Jesus’ truth about blame, which is that He has already paid the price for anything I can be blamed about. Therefore, I’ve fired Mr. Blame and all of the blaming people he introduced into my life!
Instead, I have accepted the offer of Grace and Mercy to be my roommates.
They are nice to me and they help me focus on everything God did for me in overcoming cancer. They also help me with getting the right perspective about all of the other challenges that happened in that same season of my life.
Most important, even though I hired Grace and Mercy, they have taught me more than I can ever compensate them.
For truly, they have taught me to love and to forgive and to cherish the moments in today. Above all, they have blessed me with liberty to praise God in new ways I had never considered before I fired Mr. Blame.
It took me a little while to fully realize that the burden Mr. Blame had put upon my thoughts and feelings simply stole my desire to worship God.
With great delight, I am thrilled to report that Grace and Mercy have released me to freely praise and worship the One who has healed me, saved me, and carried me – all in spite of my ongoing human condition.
Reminding Satan of a Few Things
Occasionally, when Satan sticks his accusing head up from his pit, I remind him that he is the loser and I am the winner in this battleground called “My Life.” He started a war that he couldn’t win, but I didn’t realize that at first.
Now that I stand in Victory’s view, I can clearly see that the war was never about me; I was just in the middle of a war between God and Satan because Satan hated the God in me!
Therefore, I cannot take credit for the victory; that credit goes solely to God. Looking back, I also see that God carried me each step of the way even though I threw plenty of punches over his shoulders! (That was quite the scene; you should have been there.)
And while I am remembering my feistiness: Even if cancer would have been the earthly reason for causing my death, the heavenly reason would have been because the number of my days had been fulfilled, thus my purpose in the earth would have been complete.
So you see, God and I would have still won. And all of those who faithfully cared for and stood with me in that particular battle – they won, too!
And their victory is especially glorious because of their fight of faith, both on my behalf and on their own behalf.
In the end, Satan lost it all because He was battling on holy ground – God’s territory!
So I have put Satan on notice about a few things. Since we know that my purpose in the earth is not yet fulfilled:
- I will probably make a few more mistakes;
- I will more than likely fail in a few efforts; and
- I will most probably be at fault in a relationship or two somewhere along the way.
Do these probabilities cause me to stop living and loving and laughing? No way, not today or tomorrow. Not until I take the last breath God gives me!
Further, I have informed Satan that I will defy his lies about having to attain some imagined level of perfection prior to being qualified to share all that God has done in my life. And I am keeping my word by telling the story of God’s victories in my life—over and over and over again! Satan gets a brief verbal reminder every morning when my feet hit the floor as I remind him, “I am awake. You are in trouble!”
And that is all I have to say to him the rest of the day because I let my actions do the talking, and the stomping!
Living in the Joy of Life,