The TEMPTATION to Blame!

As a fan of the New Orleans’ Saints — I agree that the referees blew a call at the end of the game, that affected the outcome of the game.  If the referees had called passed interference or “targeting”, the Saints would have been given a first down with time to almost run out the clock before scoring — and then off to the SUPER BOWL.  No doubt.

BUT, is that the only reason the Saints lost the game?  Is it just to BLAME the missed call and the referees for the loss?  Could there be other reasons?  Could the Saints have missed a tackle, or a block, or a pass that could have changed the outcome of the game?

There is a tendency — a TEMPTATION — to find fault, to blame — someone for all the problems that exist.  Remember:  Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent.

Most people — most people — would agree that it was a sham for Hitler to blame the problems that faced Germany on the Jews and those who “took advantage of Germany” after World War I.  Whose fault was it that Germany faced economic ruin — find someone, how about the Jews?

But — I think — if we pause, when we reflect —- that tendency, that TEMPTATION — is all around us.

why are we having communication problems in our relationship?  If my wife/husband would just do this, there would be no problem.  The only reason I did that was because he/she did this first?  If she/he had not done THAT FIRST, I would never have done that!

why is my child doing so poorly at school?  it is the teacher(s), it is common core, it is because there is too much/too little homework.

who is to blame for the sexual abuse problem in the Church?  It is the gay priests, it is the gay sub-culture in the clergy!

you know, I wouldn’t be this way if my parents were more caring and considerate; my mother always showed more love to my sister; my father was never home — was an alcoholic — etc.

Are the Chinese to blame for our trade-imbalance?  Or, could it be our desire for cheap/inexpensive things?

Are immigrants the reason for crime, violence, and drugs in our culture?

Is “trashy television” the cause of declining social values … or a reflection of our deeper selves?

On this first weekend of Lent we are called to reflect on the temptations that Jesus faced in the desert as he confronted the devil, the evil one, the tempter.  A traditional reflection on the power of the devil — the evils of the world — our personal demons of alcohol, food, sex, a vulgar mouth — could be preached.

But, I offer a twist —- thinking of what I see as pervasive — the desire to blame someone for the problems around us.  It is my spouse, it is my bishop, the Democrats, the Republicans, the immigrants, the gays, the people on welfare, my parents, my children …..

When do we reject this temptation and accept personal blame for my own behavior, my own destiny, the place I find myself?

I am not going to say we need to own all blame — maybe our parents’ behavior did affect me; maybe my children are unappreciative; maybe I am irritated by the person who has already been deported twice and who is responsible for a crime; maybe a teacher was less professional than he/she SHOULD HAVE BEEN; maybe a gay priest acted inappropriately.

But — is it right and just and helpful —- to blame others for everything bad/wrong around me?  Is it fair to blame an entire group of people for what is wrong?  Just I do not want to be considered just like EVERYONE in my family — or EVERYONE who is WHITE, then maybe we need to see with a wider – broader lens.

If someone or something else is to blame — then I seem to have little power or chance to make things be different – or better.

We all want things to be different.  But, how different are we willing to be?

We all want things to change.  But, how willing am I to change?

We all want things to be better.  But, how willing am I to be better, to do better?

Is it possible that I have some blame for my problems — for the problems around me?

Jesus rejected the temptations of the devil — even with his hunger, he knew “who he was” and he focused on the promises of the Father.

We have 40 days to reflect — to pray — to create a plan for a better me — and a better world because I am better.

Blaming others — to keep out of trouble — is a learned behavior.  And, it can be un-learned.

I have no doubt that sometimes during this week there will be a temptation to blame someone — some group — for the problem(s) around us.  Let’s face the tempter, and not give into temptation.




About thegospelforliving

Retired Catholic Priest - now serving the community as a paralegal and charter school consultant.
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