Taylor Swift is notorious for dating guys, breaking up with them, and then writing hit singles about her dating experience with the guy and how he broke her heart and how he was an idiot and so on. Guy after guy after guy after guy, song after song after song after song…
You get the idea.
But you know, after so many hit songs about so many failed relationships, if she really tried to look for the common thread throughout all of her dating relationships, maybe she would come to the startling conclusion…
…That it’s not them. It’s her.
SHE is the common thread.
It’s not the guys that are the problem. SHE is the problem.
Now I don’t have anything against Taylor Swift (…except that she stole all the fame from my beloved Carrie Underwood…but that’s another story). I just use her as an example of a type of person that we all probably have as a friend. The friend who blames everyone else for their misfortune. The friend who blames their upbringing and their past for their current miserable reality. The friend who blames God and life and the universe and the forces of nature for the crappy weather, for still being single, for not getting an A on a final, for getting a ticket, hell, even for their own sin.
The friend who blames anyone or anything but themselves.
From the beginning of time, men and women have been blame-shifters. I mean, if you take a look at Genesis 3, you find that after purposefully disobeying God and having their nakedness be made known to them, the first thing Adam and Eve did was to cover themselves with fig leaves, hide from God, and when confronted by God, shift the blame, Adam onto Eve, Eve onto the serpent.
A lot can be gathered from the actions Adam and Eve took just prior to their shifting the blame from one creature to another. Adam and Eve disobeyed. They became aware of the ugliness of their sin. And then they covered and hid themselves because they were ashamed, despising and loathing what they saw in themselves and who they were.
So they covered themselves and hid, behind the fig leaves and behind the bushes, but also, behind the blame they cast on others. Because the beauty and comfort of shifting blame is that you still get to hide from the reality of the depths of your own sinfulness and brokenness.
As a former (and at times relapsed, haha) blame-shifter, I know that if there is any way for me to escape confronting the depths of my sin and selfishness, I will default to it. Rather than acknowledging that I was acting like a real bitch (and I really am at times, but RJ is too nice to say so) to RJ out of the sinful depths of my heart, I would much rather blame my behavior on him, that it was out of the sinful depths of HIS heart that I reacted the way that I did. Because then, RJ is the sinful one, I’m the innocent victim, and I don’t ever need to confront the darkness of my heart.
Or sometimes, I get clever with my blame. Instead of blaming a person, I blame my past, my upbringing, or my brokenness. “I can’t help that I lost my temper, having a temper runs in the family!” or “I can’t help that I keep asking you questions until you get frustrated, my upbringing has made me insecure and I have OCD and I need to check!” Thereby invoking a “get-out-of-taking-responsibility-for-my-actions” card, and excusing my sinful behavior, not only to others but to myself as well. There’s no need for me to come to the conclusion that I am just plain sinful and broken, nor to ever take a look at how wretched my heart really is or to be consumed in despair by the darkness and hopelessness of my sin and brokenness. Because I can always make it someone or something else’s fault.
Granted, there are some truly horrible things that happen to people, and some people have truly had difficult upbringings. I really do understand, and I don’t mean to minimize those hurts or trespasses in any way.
But the moment we become consciously aware of the impact our past has on our actions in the present, we now have a choice.
We can choose to continue to live as prisoners to our brokenness.
Or we can choose to move forward as conquerors and victors in freedom.
We are no longer prisoners to our past, compelled to react in the same way for the rest of our lives. From the moment of awareness, should we continue down the same path of bondage to our brokenness, we have no one to blame but ourselves, for the choice we have willingly made. From the moment of awareness, there is no “get-out-of-taking-responsibility-for-my-actions” card.
Praise be to God that He already knows the hurts from our past, the brokenness in our hearts, the sadness in our stories, and the depths of our sin and wretchedness (Psalm 139), but that He has already paid the price for it all. All of it. Even while we were still sinners and didn’t give God a second thought, He paid that price (Romans 5:8). And because of that, we no longer need to hide behind blame or cover ourselves. We can come just as we are, sin, brokenness, and all, because not only is God big enough to handle it, but He WANTS to.
As we stop blaming others, get naked before God, and confront our sin and brokenness for all that it is, we can fully embrace all of who we are because God has already fully embraced all of who we are.
But more importantly, being real with all of who we are, for all our sin, our brokenness, and our wretchedness, allows for God to begin that beautiful journey of redemption with and within us, where we are molded and refined more into His image, able to live more freely, able to love more fully, and able to better bear the image of a loving and forgiving God.
Therapy Pro Tip #2 in recap: If it seems like everyone and everything else around you is the problem with your life, think again.
It’s not them.
So let’s get naked.