Are You Playing The Game That No One Wins?
By Julie Morris
If you knew a game was impossible to win, would you play it?
Millions of people are playing–and losing at this game–without even knowing it. Maybe you’re one of them.
I’m talking about the Blame Game. You know, the one that says when someone else is “it,” you’re excused from all responsibility.
Look at these Blame Game players and see if you can identify with one of them:
Henry’s mom was an alcoholic. During his childhood, his mother abused him in many ways. Now that Henry is an adult, whenever he has the opportunity, he spews hatefully, “My mother ruined my life. I will never forgive her for what she did to me.”
Judy’s marriage is failing. She says, “John is making me miserable. He doesn’t help around the house and never compliments me anymore. I think the kids and I would be better off without him.”
Joanne says her adult daughter is driving her crazy. “She keeps making such stupid mistakes and never accepts the advice I give her. Now she won’t speak to me because she says that I keep telling her what to do.”
All three of these Blame Game players were losing–stuck in a vicious cycle of defeat. The more miserable they were, the more they blamed, and the more they blamed, the farther they drifted from the only One who could give them victory over their problems. Look at what happened to them when they stopped blaming.
When Henry told his friend Joe about his alcoholic mother, Joe invited Henry to a recovery group at his church. The first night Henry went, the speaker shared a Bible verse that opened his eyes to the destructiveness of the Blame Game he had been playing–1 John 2:11 “But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.” That night, for the first time, he saw clearly that, even though his mother had been dead for years, she still was ruining his life. Over the next few months, Henry learned how to forgive his mother and get on with his life.
While Judy’s marriage was going from bad to worse, her Sunday School class happened to be studying Forgiveness. One Sunday, when Judy heard this Bible verse, she realized how foolish it was for her to play the Blame Game: Proverbs 14:1 “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Judy confessed that she had torn her husband down by gossiping about him and nagging him. She realized how destructive her hateful attitude had been to every member of her family—especially her children. Judy asked God to help her to start treating her husband as lovingly as she used to, no matter how he treated her. Her husband noticed the change immediately and he started changing too. Judy told me recently, “I said that my husband was making me miserable, but I did that to myself by playing the Blame Game.”
Joanne got depressed so she went for counseling at her church. Joanne’s counselor told her that depression is often caused by anger turned inward, and suggested that she write a prayer, pouring out her feelings about her daughter, and bring it to the next counseling session. Joanne began to understand how judgmental and controlling she had become. She called her daughter and apologized for the way she acted, and her daughter invited Joanne to lunch. Joanne stayed in counseling for several months while she learned how to let go of her adult daughter and get a more meaningful life of her own.
Have you been losing at the Blame Game? If so, stop! Resolve this year to do what each of these former Blame Game players did: Quit focusing on how others need to change. Instead, confess things you’re doing wrong and focus on letting God change you. Reach out to a Christian friend, pastor, or counselor, pray, and study the Bible for direction. Then, in 2010 you can exchange a life filled with blame to one overflowing with gain!
Author of 12 books and dynamic motivational speaker, Julie Morris (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the founder of Step Forward www.stepforwarddiet.com, a Christian weight-loss program and Guided By Him www.guidedbyhim.com, a lighter and easier version of Step Forward. She is The Christian Pulse Health and Fitness Team Leader. © 2010