The Blame Game

I’ve often heard my friends talk about all of the life lessons they learn from their kids. As one who doesn’t have kids, I usually have to get my life lessons from other places. But recently, I spent some time with one of my friends and her twelve-year-old, and I got some of those lessons firsthand.

Twelve year old girls can be pretty fun. They still have a healthy dose of little girl in them, but they’re also dipping their toes into the big girl pool. My friend’s tween will cuddle with me, watching a movie one minute, and the next minute, ask my advice on eyeliner and eye make-up remover. Tween-dom is a topsy-turvy mishmash of giggles, tears, shrieks of laughter, and boiling angst. And it’s hard to hear the voice that for eleven years crooned, “I love you, Mommy!” now hissing, “You’ve ruined my life, Mother!”

This past weekend, as I watched my favorite tween ride this rollercoaster with her Mom, I couldn’t help but see myself in it. I’ll admit that I was a wretched girl from the time I was about twelve until I was about fifteen. My emotions raged out of control. I was angry so much of the time, and my Mama was such a convenient target. It was all her fault. And I didn’t hesitate to tell her so.

As I’ve gotten older, I’m extremely happy to say that I’ve grown out of the anger towards my Mama. In fact, she’s one of my favorite people. But even as I reconcile with my mother, I notice something else about myself that’s pretty disturbing—sometimes, just as I used to turn my angry blame towards my mother, I turn my angry blame towards God. And like a twelve-year-old, most of the time, it’s because I didn’t get what I wanted, when I wanted it, or in the shape or color or size I wanted it in. The good news is that because I recognize it, I can change it.

Last week was a horrible week. On Monday, two men in Boston set off bombs that killed three innocent people, wounded nearly 200 others, and terrified most of a nation. Before we had time to get our bearings back, a fertilizer plant in Texas exploded, killing more than a dozen, wounding nearly two hundred, and devastating most of a small Southern town.

I think it’s only natural when tragedy strikes, to try to make sense of the senseless. Especially when the innocent are lost. But my heart still broke, when in the midst of the clamor, I heard voices blaming God or questioning what kind of God would allow this—which really, is blaming God. And in that, I heard the voice of the twelve-year-old. And it makes me sad, because what it means is that just as I blamed my Mom because I didn’t understand her love for me or who she was, and just as my friend’s twelve-year-old blames her because she doesn’t understand her Mom’s love or who her Mom is, these people are blaming God because they don’t understand God’s love for them or who He is. My prayer is that in me, they’ll see Him, and learn more about His love for them, and who He is.

“In the beginning Adam blamed God for his troubles, and mankind has been blaming God ever since.”

Stanley, Andy (2010-10-19). The Grace of God (p. 13). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

This post is part of a weekly book discussion on Andy Stanley’s book, “The Grace of God.” You don’t have to read the book to hang out and discuss it! Please feel free to leave your comments below. If you wrote a post on this chapter, please feel free to visit my co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen, at Connecting to Impact, to link your post on the widget.

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  1. Amen to that. I want anyone who’s around me for very long to have a hard time believing God doesn’t care. I’m certainly not perfect, but I want His love and grace to shine through. Keeping my heart right (i.e., not blaming God, applying His grace to me and others, etc.) is the first step. Good stuff, Sarah! Thank you.

  2. Echoing your prayer Sarah.

    Lord, may you be seen in all I say, in all I do, in all I am. To you alone be the glory.

  3. Sarah Salter says:

    I love the way you put that, Jason! And I couldn’t agree more! 🙂

  4. Sarah Salter says:


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