I don't blame Eve. After all, she was likely just a curious adolescent ... probably needed a bit of excitement amidst her tranquil, predictable existence. Our Creator's first daughter has shouldered the brunt of the shame for our fall from, or perhaps into, humanity. But, her act of rebellion taught us a salient truth about ourselves - whether your interpretation of the account in Genesis 3 is allegorical or literal. We disobey. We submit to temptation. We commit treasons big and small, always have. But then, what about Adam's response?
When confronted with their transgression against God's admonition to refrain from eating the fruit, Adam responded, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." He didn't exactly "man up" without first blaming Eve. In turn, Eve blamed the serpent, and together, the two set in motion a pattern that hasn't broken since (Genesis 3: 12 & 13). What proves our humanity more than our penchant for blaming?
It's hard to admit fault; and I'll put myself at the top of the list. Why is it I so clearly see the "speck" in the eye of "my brother" but ignore the "plank" in my own (Matthew 7:3-5)? As a mother, I've stood witness to my children's ceaseless battles, each accusing the other. "It's her fault!" one screams while the other one spits, "but if he wouldn't bug me than I wouldn't yell so loud!" Do we ever really get past this stage in life?
With so many troubles in our country, the blame game has gone into serious overtime. Conservatives and liberals blame each other. The housing industry blames unscrupulous lenders. Christians blame the breakdown of the family. Society blames the media; the media blame their own. Parents blame Hollywood, and the list goes on and on. It's just so much easier to look elsewhere and find fault than recognize our own significant role in the problems we're coping with during this critical moment in history. Our greed, our selfishness, our desire to dominate ... we're all players; we're each complicit in some way. We're human.
I interviewed a successful project manager in a large corporation recently. His first strategy, he said, in rescuing a derailed project was to gather his team together and pronounce that the failure was his fault. Wow. He maintains there's nothing to fight about once blame has been assigned, and they can get on with fixing the problems. Everyone can put down their arms, pick up a tool and get to work.
An attitude like that one takes humility. Courage. Character. How refreshing would it be to hear more people - Ok, myself - just take it on the chin and fess up? As a disciple, my call is to model the example of our great Teacher. He took the blame for our sins on the cross, even though He Himself deserved none of it. If He could do that for me, I can certainly take ownership for my own mistakes ... even concede when I'm certain I'm right. For the sake of peace. And I can make my own small contribution to solving the problems, to building unity and prosperity once again.
Longtime Arizona resident Diane Meehl lives in Ahwatukee Foothills with her husband and their three blameless children. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.