We often have the tendency to blame something or someone else for things that aren’t going right for us in our lives, or for the mistakes we ourselves have made. So long as this something or someone is not ourselves, we are happy to play blame the game. The Government, Big Business, ‘50 zones that should be 60 zones’, parking inspectors, ‘karma’, that particular person who gets on our nerves, the boss, the wife, the husband, the Church, the Hierarchy, those ‘commies’ –if one’s a righty, those ‘fascists’ –if one’s a lefty, Satan and even God. Why do we have this tendency to blame something or someone else? I think it’s safe to say that the answer lies in the fact that by virtue of our fallen nature, we have ego’s the size of a planet. We can’t handle being wrong. We don’t like to be ashamed. We don’t like our reputation or the positive image we have of ourselves to be tarnished; so at all costs we strive to defend the throne of our pride.
The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barab'bas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified.”… Then he released for them Barab'bas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. (Mat 27:21-22, 26).
|Pilate Proposes to Free either Jesus or Barabbas, 'The Passion of the Christ'|
Then we come to Judas; and we think to ourselves: “What a terrible thing he did! To betray Jesus who was nothing but a friend to Him; I couldn’t imagine someone ever doing such a thing!” Yet without getting too technical, and stating it how it is, do we not betray Jesus every time we sin? Do we not betray Jesus with a kiss whenever we pretend to ourselves that we are good Christians who love God, whilst at the same time we never really pray from the heart, nor even do anything to love our neighbour who is unkind or disrespectful to us; but rather we gossip and speak of the faults of others in our conversations? Truly if we are honest –not so much humble, because our humility is mere recognition of the facts, whilst God’s Humility is an actual lowering of who He is- there is a bit of Judas within all of us. Yet God can fix this, we only need to recognise it, repent of it and trust God in the confidence of childlike love.
Blaming Adam and Eve
|Adam and Eve Consume the Forbidden Fruit|
Acknowledging We Did It and the Steps that Follow
Thus the first step is sorrowful repentance for having hurt the One who loves us so much that He died for us; and involves repentance from our heart, followed and accompanied by Confession if our conscience or understanding inspires us that this is necessary, or if we haven't been a long time. The second step is trusting in His Mercy as more powerful than any and every one of our sins. The third step is giving thanks for His Love and Mercy, which He poured out in a torrent of blood and water on the Cross, and which He continues to pour out through the Eucharist. And the fourth step is to cease playing the blame game -which is a negative endeavour in which one seeks to criticise others; and instead to begin playing the praise game – which is a positive endeavour in which one seeks to focus on the good in all things, and giving praise to God for it.
From Blame Game to Praise Game
The praise game –as lame as it sounds- is what causes us to understand why Good Friday is good, and it is because on this day we do not blame who did kill Jesus -although we do recognise and repent of our so doing- but rather we give praise and thanks to our God for dying for us in such a way, and for giving us His Mother through John. Since it is She who will teach us how to be grateful and loving people who will defend our neighbours in word and in prayer before the Throne of God. For whilst the Virgin Mary in Her union with the Holy Spirit is the Advocate and Defender of us all; Satan is the Accuser and Blamer of us all (Rev 12:10). So let us pray that we stay on Mary’s side, the side which stands at the Foot of the Cross and recites as its motto the prayer of Christ Crucified on behalf of all: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34). For indeed "if you forgive men their trespasses," says the Lord, "your heavenly Father also will forgive you" (Mt 6:14) and yet again in another place He says: “blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Mt 5:7).
So let's stop playing the blame game by pointing the finger at others; realise that three fingers are pointing back at us whenever we do so, and play instead the praise game on this Good Friday, this very Good Friday which has won for us a great and glorious redemption.