Are You Playing This Destructive Game?

When we think about Friday the 13th, we usually think about bad things. It is thought to be an unlucky day when unfortunate things are likely to happen.

No one is certain where this idea started. But the number twelve has long been considered a complete–and therefore–lucky number. And so it follows that thirteen came to be considered incomplete and unlucky.

In some countries, Friday itself is considered unlucky. England is one example. If a baby is born on Friday, he or she is placed on a Bible. And many couples in England will not get married on a Friday.

But in the United States, Friday is usually a day we look forward to. It’s the last day of work before the fun-filled weekend. We even say things such as “T.G.I.F.”–Thank Goodness It’s Friday.

Nevertheless, even here in the United States, Friday the 13th is considered to be unlucky. But that may be changing some. The first Friday the 13th of the year has now been designated “Blame Someone Else Day.”

“Blame Someone Else Day” was invented by Anne Moeller of Clio, Michigan in 1982.  One day, her alarm clock failed to go off, making her late for work and other events throughout the day. It just happened to be Friday the 13th. She didn’t want to be blamed for her tardiness, so she blamed others. (Of course, who knows if this is true. It could be that someone blamed her for starting this whole thing.)

Now, the first Friday the 13th of this year has already passed. It was in January. And the next “Blame Someone Else Day” won’t be until April 13, 2018.

But blaming someone else for what we do wrong is nothing new. And it doesn’t wait for a specific day. It is part of our sinful human nature. But it is devastating to our marriage.

Blaming others has been around since the beginning, when God created man and woman. It has existed since the Fall of man. And we read about it in Genesis.

Adam and Eve were placed in a perfect environment by God when He created them and their marriage. He provided everything they would need. He only had one stipulation for them. They could not eat the fruit “from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17).

Eve saw the fruit from that tree, and it looked good to her. The serpent–Satan–deceivingly encouraged her, and she ate one of the fruit. She offered some to Adam, who also ate it. (See Genesis 3:1-6.)

Adam and Eve had just committed mankind’s first sin, and the blaming game had begun.

God—who is all-knowing–saw what they did, and He confronted them. Adam immediately blamed Eve. (See Genesis 3:7-12.) The first account of a husband blaming his wife is recorded for us.

God next confronts Eve. And she blames the serpent. (See Genesis 3:13.)

The results were devastating. (See Genesis 3:14-24.)

Blame was devastating then…and it still is.

We will never know what might have happened if Adam and Eve had confessed their sin to God and asked His forgiveness. But we do know that the consequence of blame instead of confession was disastrous.

God, in His gracious love, tells us what we need to do instead of blaming each other. He says in 1 John 1:8-9: If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

We need to admit our own wrongdoing and confess it. And God promises to forgive us and get us back on track.

Blaming each other has been Satan’s strategy to destroy our marriages since creation. This strategy works so well because the first step to solving any problem is to recognize what the problem is–and our role in it. We cannot do this as long as we try to place the blame elsewhere.

Blaming others leads us to focus on what we cannot change–the other person. Only God can change a person’s heart.

God says to His people in Ezekiel 36:25-27: I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (bold mine).

Blaming our spouses also leads us away from what we can change–ourselves. There has never been a time in my own marriage–or in the marriages of those I have counseled–where only one person was at fault. We are all sinners. God tells us in Romans 3:23: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (bold mine).

Therefore, we all have some role in whatever problem we have. So we all need to make certain we ourselves are right with God before we start thinking about dealing with our spouse.

Jesus put it this way in Matthew 7:3-5: “‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.’”

The place to begin is to make certain you have given your life to Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Then you will have the Holy Spirit living in you to help you see your own sin and to help you respond to your spouse with the love and grace that can only come from God. If you want to know how to make Jesus your Savior, or want to make sure about this, go here: Meet Jesus.

We are all sinners trying to live with our spouses in a sin-infested world. It is difficult at times. But the good news is that God wants our marriage to be successful and joyous, even more than we do.

We begin to receive His help when we seek Him and stop blaming our spouse. We do this through confessing our sin, asking His forgiveness, seeking His will through His Word, and requesting His help to do what His Word says.

Don’t play the blame game. You and your spouse are in this life together. Seek God and take responsibility for your own actions. And God will help you grow closer to each other and strengthen your marriage.

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♦   Read this week’s teaching together. What stood out to you? How does it apply to your marriage?

♦   Where is the focus of your heart right now? Is it on your husband or wife and what they are doing wrong? Is it on yourself and what you want? Or is it on God and what He wants for you, your spouse, your marriage, and/or for others?

Perhaps you will be helped by Psalm 119:33-37: “Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. 34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. 35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. 36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” This would be a good prayer for you to lift to God together.

♦   Do you tend to blame others for your sins and mistakes? Do you find it hard to accept responsibility for your errors? Is your spouse often the person you blame? If so, ask their forgiveness. And ask them to help you by praying for you with this problem.

♦   Close your time by praying with each other. Ask God to help you do whatever He reveals you need to do to be right with Him and have the marriage He desires for you. Ask Him to help you to stop blaming, start searching your own heart, repent, and start growing in your walk with Him.

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Next week we won’t have a new Couple’s Bible Study post. Sabra and I will be traveling to visit our son in Florida. But Sabra has written a post I know will be a blessing to you. So be looking for that.

I will begin a new Couple’s Bible Study series in two weeks. And we also hope to have at least one Simply Fun post from our trip when we return.

So until then, may God bless you and your marriage in all His wonderful ways,

Also, here is a link to a fun video about blame I thought you might enjoy:

All Scripture is from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Photo by Gadini via (CC0), cropped/text added.

About David Penley

A devoted husband and father, former pastor and seminary professor, who longs to grow closer to the likeness of Christ each day and share God's love and truth with everyone.