In today’s world, placing blame is easier than ever. Outlets such as the news and social media allow us to say “it’s their fault!” without a second thought. Because of this, placing blame on others—or even yourself—is a trap that is all too easy to fall into. However, figuring out “who’s to blame” is not an effective way to heal the hurtful situations in our lives.
In Love and Responsibility, Pope JPII spoke of “responsibility” as a basic and inalienable human freedom that gives us the ability to choose to work for our good and the good of others no matter what. In a sense, despite the fact that we live in a broken, fallen world, filled with broken, fallen people, no one and nothing can ever take away our ability to respond in godly ways that work for our good and the good of others. No one can take away this ability to respond to our circumstances UNLESS WE SURRENDER IT OURSELVES and one of the most common ways we do this is by blaming. When we blame, we turn other people or our circumstances into idols that are more powerful than God’s grace working in us and giving us the ability to do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Here are three tips that will help you stop blaming and start reclaiming your power in grace!
1. Don’t Blame Yourself–Overcoming the temptation to blame others isn’t an invitation to start blaming yourself. The first step to reclaiming your power over blaming is to stop trying to figure out whose fault it is and just start solving the problem. Assigning blame–whether to others or yourself–won’t change reality. Only the next steps you take will. The only question that matters is, “What are YOU going to DO about it NOW?”
2. Adopt A Supernatural Perspective–We often blame others when we feel powerless or afraid. Saying that our circumstances are someone else’s fault allows us to avoid acting in ways that might be necessary, but are scary or unpleasant–especially when we aren’t sure we can do it. This is the time to remember St Thomas Aquinas’ maxim, “Grace builds on nature.” Instead of saying, “I CAN’T.” Remind yourself of St Paul’s words, “I have the strength for everything through Christ who empowers me.” First, ask God what he wants you to do to start making a positive difference in your situation. Second, ask him for the grace to make up for everything you feel you lack. Finally, do the thing that challenges both you and the people around you to be your best selves and let God’s grace flow through your actions.
3. Accept The Invitation–Surrendering the tendency to blame means accepting God’s invitation to grow in strength and wisdom. When we stop blaming–ourselves or others–we embrace the changes God wants to make in us and through us; changes that WILL lead to us closer to becoming our whole, healed, godly, grace-filled selves and living more abundant lives. All of God’s children receive this invitation. Have the courage to accept it and let God make you a witness to the amazing things he can create with imperfect people and imperfect situations
For more information on how to accept and embrace God’s grace in your life, tune in to More2Life, weekdays at 10am E/9am C on EWTN Global Catholic Radio/SiriusXM130, and check out my book Broken Gods: Hope, Healing, and the Seven Longings of the Human Heart.
By Dr. Gregory Popcak
Dr. Gregory Popcak is the Executive Director of the Pastoral Solutions Institute, an organization dedicated to helping Catholics find faith-filled solutions to tough marriage, family, and personal problems.