I’ve spent a great deal of time lately pondering the difference between blame and responsibility. From my journey I have a few realizations that I would like to share with you all. Forgive me if I start to sound a bit preachy. ;-)
Often times when something goes wrong we immediately try to seek out who was at fault. We try to find who to blame. Is this the right reaction? Is this the proper course to take? Blame is looking outwards and backwards. It doesn’t repair or fix or grow anything. It has the potential to destroy and shatter people, relationships, and communities. Yet this is our first reaction a lot of the time. Instead of looking backwards and placing blame I’d much prefer to look forward and see what can be done to repair the damage. To be of service and useful.
Responsibility is made up of the words response and ability, literally meaning able to respond. Much of the time I find myself blaming someone I also find I am able to respond. I am able to answer the need. Yet instead of providing needed help I stand looking the wrong way trying to find someone to point at. Accountability is important, that is not in question. What I wonder though is something else. By trying to place blame instead of responding and helping are we not also acting unjustly? Are our actions not harmful?
The reflection for this month speaks of Justice. Almost every definition of Justice uses the terms righteousness or rightness. Right action, in other words. So I ask myself and all of you, what is the right action? Do we search for blame or lend a hand? Do we have the ability to respond? To help? Can we let our ego fall and step forward to take responsibility? Taking responsibility is NOT the same thing as accepting blame. Although the two have become quite synonymous for reasons that I cannot explain. It seems to me that the right thing to do is whatever results in the most good. The logical conclusion is to forget about blame and be the change that is needed. This can involve accountability and be a more effective tool than blame could ever hope to be.
Our creed touches on this very concept. Where there is hatred, I shall bring love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. And where there is sadness, joy. I am a Jedi. I shall never seek so much to be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love: For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned…
So I place a challenge at our feet today. Yes I know that I ask a lot of us, but let me ask a little bit more. When the urge to blame presents itself ask if you are capable of responding. If you are capable ask what is your response? How can we help? Are we being the light in the dark? Are we pardoning? Are we consoling? Are we bringing joy to the sadness? Are we bringing love to the hatred? Are we making the right choice?
May the Force be with us all.