Saturday, January 25, 2014

P2-SFS7 - The Blame Game

The Search For Significance –
Seeing your true worth through God's eyes”
Robert S. McGee

Chapter 7 – The Blame Game

  • Have you ever wondered how a critical, judgmental petrson lives with him or herself?
  • The answer is: not very well
  • Our perception of success and failure is often our primary basis for evaluating ourselves and others
  • If we believe that performance reflects ones value, and
  • if we believe that failure makes one unacceptable and unworthy of love, then
  • we will usually feel justified in condemning those who fail, including ourselves
  • Self condemnation may include name-calling (I'm so stupid – I can't do anything right), making jokes in which we put ourselves down (self-deprecating), or we allow no room for error in our performance
  • With others we may be harsh (physically or verbally abusive), or more subtle (sarcastic or silent)
  • Any form of condemnation is destructive and communicates I'll make you sorry for what you did!
  • For example, being told you are a failure, a liar, a thief, you will never amount to anything
  • Makes you depressed when feeling good, because you feel you have no right to feel good
  • False belief = Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished
  • We all tend to point an accusing finger assigning blame for virtually every failure
  • When we fail to receive approval we are likely to search for a reason, a culprit, or a scapegoat
  • If we find no one else to blame, we blame ourselves
  • When we find someone to blame we figure they deserve to be punished, and we let others know it is not our fault
  • Another reason we blame others is that their failure is a threat to our success
  • When another's failure blocks our success we usually defend ourselves and blame them – this puts a safe distance between their failure and our fragile self-worth
  • We often use condemnation to manipulate them to do better
  • We tend to always be looking for someone to take the blame
  • Blaming others makes us feel better and superior
  • Alternatively, we may readily take blame on ourselves
  • When a parent fails, a child often accepts the blame
  • As adults we may do the same with our superiors
  • We have a big investment in supporting those we depend on, even at the cost of denial
  • If the one who fails is a Christian, affirm God's truth: they are deeply loved, completely forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted by God and complete in Christ
  • This changes our condemnation to love and a desire to help
  • We will love them as God loves us – 1 Jn 4:11
  • We forgive them as God forgave us - Eph 4:32
  • We accept them as God accepted us – Rom 15:7
  • Our reaction to their faults will change from condemnation to compassion
  • If they are not a Christian yet, we love our neighbor – Matt 22:37-39 – we pray for and love our enemies – Lk 6:27-28
  • There is nothing anyone can do to me that compares to my sin of rebellion against God, which is now completely forgiven
  • 1. We condemn them not only for sin but also for genuine mistakes
  • When people try their best and fail, they don't need biting blame, bur love and encouragement
  • We blame because their actions make us look bad, and our own failure is unacceptable to us
  • Husband/wife, parent /child, employer/employee are especially vulnerable to feeling thrreatened by another's failure
  • 2. A second error is that we are God's agent of condemnation
  • While we recognize sin deserves condemnation, judgment is God's responsibility, not ours
  • It takes wisdom to deal with others offenses
  • Need to express our emotions in a safe environment
  • Need a good friend or counselor, who helps us get in touch with our true feelings which may have been suppressed for years
  • Express self fully to God – read Psalms! - in this environment we can slowly learn how to communicate appropriately with those who hurt us
  • Our feelings do need to be expressed, but is a learning process
  • We can condemn, or we can learn
  • Failing is not being a failure, but on a road to maturity
  • Sometimes we see God as a harsh disciplinarian, and Jesus as our friend – yet they are the same – Heb 1:3
FEAR OF PUNISHMENT/PUNISHING OTHERS TEST (give a score for each item in the list)
  • 1=always, 2= very often, 3=often, 4=sometimes, 5=seldom, 6=very seldom, 7=never
  • 1. I fear what God might do to me
  • 2. After I fail, I worry about Gopd's response
  • 3. When I see someone in a difficult situation, I wondet what they did to deserve it
  • 4. When something goes wrong, I have a tendency to think that God must be punishing me
  • 5. I am very hard on myself when I fail
  • 6. I find myself wanting to blame people when they fail
  • 7. I get angry with God when someone who is immoral or dishonest, prospers
  • 8. I am compelled to tell others when I see them doing wrong
  • 9. I tend to focusd on the faults and failures of others
  • 10. God seems harsh to me
  • Total your scores.
  • 57-70 = you seem to have a strong appreciation of God's love and unconditional acceptance. You seem to be freed from the fear of punishment that plagues most people. (or you may not have been honest with yourself)
  • 47-56 = the fear of punishment controls your responses rarely or only in certain situations (or you may not have been honest with yourself)
  • 37-46 = when you experience emotional problems they may relate to a fear of punishment. You probably relate many previous decisions to this fear. Many future decisions will be based on this fear unless you act to overcome it
  • 27-36 = the fear of punishment forms a general backdrop to your life. This robs you of the joy and peace your salvation is meant to bring
  • 0-26 = experiences of punishment dominate your memory, and have probably resulted in a lot of depression. This will stay this way unless you take direct action, time alone cannot heal your pain. You need deep healing in your concept of self, your relationship with God, and your relationships with others
  • Self-induced punishment
  • Bitterness
  • Passivity
  • Punishment of others
  • Fears of all sorts

Discussion Questions

  • Do you really deserve to feel good about yourself? Why?
  • Zwhat are the three most negative terms you use to describe self?
  • Does God punish his children?