Choice. Blame. Responsibility.

It’s ALWAYS Someone Else’s Fault!
The other day I watched a program about a man who caused a car accident.  Anyone paying attention, with half an eye, was well aware that he was distracted. He was driving while texting on his cell phone. Yet, three people tried to convince him that it was not his fault and that things just happen. And he, put the blame on the weather.  Responsibility doesn’t live here.  He had but one choice–to text while driving in the rain.
Another situation, which I personally witnessed, involved a woman who lost custody of her three children. She is a chronic alcoholic who had been to rehab six times—on someone else’s dime. Despite the fact that she had been given many opportunities to get help, she refused to stop drinking and using drugs.  She felt she had no choice but to drink and use, despite available help.  Finally there were no more chances and her kids were taken from her. In meetings, on social media, and everywhere folks would listen, she cried that folks let her down, and that she was a victim, with no choice. “No one was there for me,” she cried. “Had my mom been a better mother, had that judge been more sympathetic, had my lawyer been more competent, had my ex-husband been more tolerant, had the system helped me – I would have stayed clean and sober.”
In a recent episode of Chicago PD a young hoodlum killed three people and held two cops at gunpoint. Yet he bemoaned how his situation was different, and she [the cop with the gun in her face] just didn’t understand why he sold drugs to kids in his neighborhood and killed people. He said, “My mom was on drugs and my father is in prison.” He continued to say, “If you grew up like me, I bet you’d feel the same way, too. I am not to blame, it’s not my fault. I had no choice.”

Responsibility.  Blame.

Those situations, and so many more, constantly remind me of how often we try to escape taking responsibility for OUR actions, by blaming someone or something else.  The blame game has become a part of our culture that it is almost comical.  In our culture, we seem to do whatever we want to do, regardless of who gets hurt, and then, our fallback is, “It was not my fault.” Is it ever our fault? Are we ever to blame for the actions we take at 18, 25, 39, 48, 55, 70-years old? Will the responsibility for our behavior always be someone else’s fault?
A common scenario on many television shows is betrayal by adultery. Almost every spouse who cheats on their spouse blames the other spouse for their behavior. At what point is the choice the cheating spouse? Why not leave? Get a job? Go back to school? Just leave? But if you make the choice to do wrong or commit a crime or betray a loved one, fine, but it’s a choice you make.

 We are responsible–like it or not.

Ultimately, we are responsible for the choices that we make, and so are our loved ones. They are responsible for their choices. We don’t help those we love by allowing them to not take responsibility for their actions.  Someone smokes cigarettes for 30 years, whose fault is that? Someone gets fat by eating hamburgers everyday all day…whose fault is that? They might want to blame the tobacco company or the hamburger vendor, but in truth, they made the choice to use or eat or drink or behave. Perhaps if we were held accountable for the choices we make, we would think before making them.  Every day we make choices as to how we want to live. What comes as result of those choices is our life – good, bad, or indifferent.  Until we truly become willing to take responsibility for the choices we make, bad things will continue to befall us.
Is there something in your life that you have done that you do not want to own up to? Is there something that continues to haunt you, regardless of how often you (and others) say that, “It’s not your fault?”
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