Who’s to Blame?

Tonight, as I was finishing up dinner with a small cup of ice cream, we had a little fiasco with the kids.  They were both playing happily on the floor together, when my nine-month-old son evidently mistook one my daughter’s pig tails for a chin up bar.

The more she screamed, the more frightened he became.  The more frightened he became, the harder he pulled. By the time Keri and I could separate the two, they were both crying intensely.

Through the turmoil, Keri and I made eye contact and shared a discreet laugh with each other.  From our kid’s perspective, their sibling was attacking them.  From our perspective, it was all an accident and a misunderstanding – no hurt was done intentionally.

You know, it’s almost funny how often that same sort of interaction takes place in our adult life.  Our spouse or coworker or somebody on the phone says or does something that makes us angry – something unfair, unkind, or just plain stupid.  Rather than giving people the benefit of the doubt and a little bit of grace, we’re tempted to jump to conclusions and assign blame.

Given a little bit of perspective, we’d might be more kind in how we respond to others.  Maybe their response came across too sharp because of a pounding headache or the phone support technician wasn’t incompetent but grieving the loss of their spouse.  Given this additional information, we’d almost certainly be more kind and a little less ready to pile on the blame.

Many times, when you get right down to it, there’s no one to blame.  Or more realistically, we’re all to blame.

I think Bono said it well when he penned the words, “throw a brick in the air, you’ll hit someone guilty.”

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3 thoughts on “Who’s to Blame?

  1. Great story. Well not so great for the kids, but what a picture of how the world works. They both had a legitimate issue, but couldn’t resolve it because they couldn’t look past their perspective. What if we stopped to think that maybe the person we are conflicting with has a very valid reason for the way they are acting or the way they feel? How is it that kids teach the best lessons?

  2. Interesting perspective. I am tempted to flirt with the notion that many of us have read similar truths, penned by inquisitive minds. Yet, we still are able to blab our way out of similar circumstances, by justifying our perspective, and launching the brick of blame on the appropriate agent. (We all know that ‘action’ is tremendously harder to apply than ‘words’, in these instances.) So thanks for the insight Kyle. If you were to ask me, “how do you know most of us have read things similar?”, I would probably clarify by saying, “in Christian circles.” However, in or out of Christian circles, God designed us with two ears and only one mouth. So in an attempt to put what I read into action, I am going to sew my mouth shut and tape my ears forward. The reason? you ask. Because I am the chief, blabber, brick thrower,and justifier. (I wish I could put happy faces next to my comments, cause even though this sounds like a self-deprecating, bla bla bla, I am writing it with a merry heart.)

  3. Aaron, your absolutely right. There’s something very interesting about being a parent. I’ve heard it said that you don’t really know something until you try to teach it to someone else, so I guess when you’re teaching someone how to live….

    Ben, no worries about it all. Maybe other people can’t imagine your face while you type, I certainly can. I can certainly relate about being the chief justifier. Man, I hate that. That’s something that I really hope God will change in me.

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