When Our Problems Begin and End With Ourselves

Most people when confronting a problem or a difficult situation like to figure out where to place the blame. They want to find out who or what they can point to for the mess that they find themselves in. Children blame parents for an awful upbringing, wives blame husbands for a turbulent marriage, nations blame other nations for instability, poverty, and hunger, politicians blame other politicians for the lack of economic recovery. In life, there just seems to be a whole lot of blaming going on, and in all honesty, not a lot self-reflection to figure out if we may actually be the source of the problem we are up against.

This is not to say that the other party isn’t guilty; there may be some of that too! Parents can do some really awful things to their children, husbands can be very negligent to their wives, nations do play a role in the ability of other nations to thrive economically, and some politicians as well as other entities are very responsible for the present economic crisis that the United States finds itself in. All of this is well and true. However, have we ever stopped to consider how we ourselves are contributing to the mess before us? How our are actions creating problems and stirring up strife for ourselves and others around us? I would guess that all too often we don’t ask these questions of ourselves because our pride and need for self preservation gets in the way. It is just so much easier to blame the other.

And that was the case for Haman in the book of Esther in the Old Testament portion of the Bible. Haman was this guy with a big name and a big title in Persia, who apparently thought too highly of himself. This guy really liked to have his ego stroked, and he was threatened by anyone who refused to do that. Mordecai, a Jewish servant, refused to play a part in Haman’s quest to exalt himself and so, when all of the other king servants bowed down and paid homage to Haman, Mordecai didn’t budge. As you can image, Haman was irate. But instead of just ripping into Mordecai, Haman decides to go one step further and annihilate the Jews.

Craziness.

You see, because Haman could not see that his own pride was the source of his discomfort, he chooses a target, a scapegoat if you will, where he could lay all of the blame. So now, not only Mordecai but the entire Jewish nation is on the hook for this guy’s inability to check his ego at the door. For Haman, it was so much easier to point the finger at the other, rather than to take responsibility for his own actions.

Before you start to berate Haman, let me remind you that we all do this in some form or capacity, some much more than others. We are constantly pointing the finger to those outside of us, and many times those who are unlike us, and we make them stand account for our own pain. ‘The other’ has become our fall guy, and as a result, we don’t have to deal with our own sin.

At least that is what we think. But we should know and understand that our pride will always come back to bite us right in the rear end. And this happened to Haman. As much as he tried to label and blame Mordecai, Haman’s pride eventually cost him his life. Haman thought that he would never have to deal with his biggest problem in his life, himself, but in the end, his refusal to own up to his shortcomings did him in.

Now, our pride probably won’t cost us our lives. Probably. But it will destroy us and the lives of those around us until we take control of it. As long as we refuse to own up to our shortcomings and recognize the role that we have played in the problems that we face, we will never do well. We can keep blaming others all day long, but it wont get us any closer to the solutions we need to move forward.

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