‘Where did we put my socks?’ ‘Do you remember where we put my passport?’ Questions like these and similar are common in our house. The thing is ‘we’ didn’t put the socks anywhere – hubby put them wherever they are all by himself! It is funny how when things go missing or go wrong we seek collective responsibility for the loss. When there is a problem to be solved it is easier to be a ‘we’ rather than a ‘me’. I was reminded of this over the weekend when ‘we’ lost a formula on the spreadsheet.
This happens in so many areas in our lives, not just drawing other people in to help us solve things, but often in blaming others as well. I remember a teacher at school refusing to listen to you tell a tale of playground trouble if you started the sentence with ‘He’ Or ‘She’ – it always had to be ‘I’. It is harder to point the finger when it begins with you.
In our spiritual walk we also like to share collective blame where possible – sometimes we pass it onto the Devil. I once heard a joke about a lady who came home with an expensive red coat. Her husband was not happy so she said quickly ‘The devil made me do it!’. The husband replied ‘Why didn’t you say ‘Get behind me Satan’. Sheepishly she said, ‘I did, but he said the coat looked great from behind also!’
Other times we try to blame God Himself – I have been guilty of praying and asking God why did you allow me to get into this situation when I have known fine rightly that it had been my choice. Taking responsibility for our choices is sometimes hard, but it is a necessary step for correction and restoration.
When King David was confronted with his sin he confessed and owned it – he took responsibility for his wrong actions and choices:
Psalms 51:1-12 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Although it is hard help me Lord to be straight with you – help me to take responsibility for my own choices and actions – to find the ‘me’ instead of the ‘we’.