Much of our lives today is blamed upon our circumstances. How many times have you heard someone say “because of my parents” or “because of my status in society” or some other excuse for bad behavior. We hear if from alcoholics “If my kids behaved better” or “if my wife was a better wife then I wouldn’t be drinking”. The news reports on serial killers and states the blame on their “upbringing” for their behavior. Because they were abused, or mistreated, or was raised in poverty they became who they were.
Our society skillfully plays the blame game, and as a result successfully avoids responsibility for our actions. And yet is this really the cause? Can our misbehavior’s actually be attributed to the behavior of our parents or families? I tend to disagree, and yet it seems to be the popular trend in our society. My problems are your fault and if you would only change then my problems would go away. And so we constantly change friends, or jobs, or churches because the problems I am experiencing are your fault and if I can change my atmosphere and surroundings then my problems will simply disappear.
And it seems we keep facing the same problems. We have the same fights year after year. Only the people seem to change. And others seem to be able to surmount their circumstances and become better people. They rise above their problems and some do great things. Martin Luther King was one who rose above circumstance and poverty to become a great man and leader in our history. So why do circumstances get the blame for our lives and some seem to not be held back by them. I loved what someone once said “No matter what our circumstances, our greatest limitation is not the people around us; it’s the spirit within us”. I believe that our circumstances and the people around us do little to hold us down to the standards we hold ourselves to. We cannot place the blame for our behavior on the people around us.
Jesus said in Luke’s gospel “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Our problems do not stem from the people around us, but from the heart within us. All of those things we say when our defenses are down, like when we are angry, are actually what we are truly feeling or thinking. We cannot say “I didn’t mean it, I was just upset” because what is within is what eventually comes out.
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Only when we truly face ourselves and realize we are the source of many of our problems can we hope to overcome them. And just like the great people of history who rose above adversity we can rise above our circumstances and become better or we can continue to fall beneath our circumstances and situations and blame them for our lives and never rise up to our potential. We all have the potential for some “greatness” within. Our choice is whether we become who we were meant to be or to continue blaming others for our lives.