Monday, June 01, 2009

The Blame Game


Plaque in my office:
MY WIFE SAYS I DON’T LISTEN TO HER
At least I think that’s what she said

Isn’t it weird how easy we can fall into the trap of the “Blame Game?” My wife had given me the assignment to take our six-month yellow Labrador Retriever puppy to be neutered (castrated-ouch!) last week.

She was out of town so I figured I could handle this task just fine. Feeling for Griffey, who was going to undergo the transformational surgery in the morning, I took him to our vet. When we arrived the receptionist looked at us with a puzzled look and said, “Who is this dog?” I replied, “The dog you are supposed to neuter today.” They didn’t even have him in the computer system. Things were going from bad to worse for Griffey. First he was to lose his manhood and now he was said to not even exist. We both left, tails between our legs (figuratively), but somewhat relieved.

Believing this must be some kind of sign from God, I put him in the seat next to me in the car and assured Griffey of God’s great mercy, “You really dodged a bullet today, buddy!” I told him as I nuzzled his face. I then decided to call Cindy to ask her what in the heck happened. She was a little bit agitated at me and informed me that I had gone to the wrong vet. As it turns out, Griffey was scheduled for his “procedure” to take place at PetSmart, of all places. PetSmart? The place that sells pet supplies does this kind of surgery? Since when did they get in the castration business?

She then calmly reminded me that she had told me that this was to be at PetSmart all along and those words I hate to hear… “You must have not been listening.” I let her know that I am sure that I would have remembered PetSmart. If she had said PetSmart, a little red flag would have gone up, PetSmart? Neutering? What?! I thought they just sold dog toys! But no such red flag went up in my head, so I just heard, “Griffey... neutering... Friday... vet… blah… blah… blah… blah.”

After I dropped Griffey off at PetSmart for the surgery that would change his life forever, I decided to call Cindy back and apologize. How quickly I had jumped to the place of BLAME. How my frustration with the breakdown of communication went to examining HER lack of clarity in telling me that this surgery was going to be at an illogical place like PetSmart and not focusing upon my lack of LISTENING. This is the “Blame Game.” We all do it. I believe the important thing is to catch ourselves when we do, and then humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness, and own what we must own!

What do YOU do when you catch yourself doing it? (Please share your comments below - we can all use some encouragement!)

I John 1:8-9 in The Message: “If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.”

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2 comments:

William said...

I went through a similar situation with my spouse recently,when I was going on and on about how she should discipline her son, as well as deal with some issues with her ex-husband, she said to me( you haven't heard a word Ive said have you?)there was a brief silence, then I dial tone.my first thought was(how could she have hung up on me!!!) the fact was I could not bring to mind anything she had said...so the next morning in prayer God says to me if you were such an authority on parenting & relationships don't you think you would show the fruit of a successful marriage by now? being that I have made a mess of more than one relationship in my life(including my marriage to Christ)
I very quickly prayed for forgiveness and went and made amends to her immediately..

Good topic Jamie..

William Hughes.

Gene said...

It never ceases to amaze me how often this comes to the surface in my marriage - on both sides. I am deeply convinced that all of our sin, has at it's root, a fundamental disinclination to trust the Gospel. This very scenario happened the other day; I rearranged our bedroom night tables incorrectly after my wife had moved them so we could do some painting. After she pointed out that the night tables were incorrectly placed, I asked her why she move them so far away from their "assigned" positions in the first place! Both of us knew what was going on, so I smiled at her sheepishly with that "er...please forgive me 'look'"; she smiled back implying she had forgiven me. A relatively "small problem" in the arena of "marital issues", but what was going on in my heart was quite profound: the Gospel was not enough to justify me in that moment and I sought to establish my own; I was not "right[eous]" unless someone else was to blame for my lack of clarity! What "gospel" was I believing in that moment and in whom was I placing my trust, humm? Jesus and His "opinion" of me (looking through the lens of the Cross) was not enough for me in that moment; I was actually looking to my wife. "If Amy realizes that this is her fault, she will think more highly of me!" Well, my self-justification had the opposite effect :) Oh to be more humble!

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord! Rom 7:24-25a

Good post Jamie, thank you.