Looking at the world and laying blame for its problems is easy. We see the blame game played almost everywhere we go. Among our families, our friends, our leaders. Instead of trying to fix the problems, we spend our time trying to decide who's to blame for them. Both sides think the other side is wrong. We pass around guilt because we don't want to bear the responsibility. We can't admit that maybe we're at fault. Telling ourselves that someone else is to blame for all our troubles is much easier. Yet fighting about who is wrong doesn't get us anywhere. It only wastes time and halts any progress we could make toward a solution. In the end, what matters is not who is to blame, but whether we are willing to recognize the problem and move toward a solution. How often do we blame other people and hold on to anger until it burns inside of us, making us sick, driving us crazy, and putting tremendous pressure and stress on our lives? How can we instead, offer a response that is different from "an eye for an eye" or "I'm going to hurt you so you will know how it feels?"
Mark 11:24-25 reads "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Forgiving others is tough work - we've all been there. But holding on to bitterness is the easy way out. It means you choose to carry the burden for the rest of your life. Choosing forgiveness, on the other hand, means choosing freedom. Thank the Lord, who does not choose the easy way out when we rebel, that He continues to love and forgive and calls us to do the same.
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NRSV) says "Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you."
Ask your teen...
Who are you playing the blame game with?
How important is it to be right?
Is it difficult to admit when you are to blame?
Have you blamed God for difficult times in your life or in the life of someone you care about?
Who or what helped you realize that God had not abandoned you?
God, help us to honor you in our relationships with others and to forgive one another generously. Give us humble hearts to admit when we're wrong and be able to say "I'm sorry" to those we have hurt. Amen.