It’s amazing how words frequently used in conversation come and go. During the Valley Girl craze of the 1980’s, phrases like, “Gag me with a spoon” and “That’s totally bogus!” were heard often. These days, we have new words and phrases to convey similar sentiments.
Today, I’d like to discuss a four word phrase that has fallen into disfavor. You just don’t hear it that much anymore.
It was my fault.
Personal accountability makes people feel vulnerable. And according to sociologist Brene’ Brown, vulnerability can be excruciating; people almost universally avoid it. In her popular TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability, she explains why: Vulnerability opens the door to shame— another unwanted emotion—so we look for a way to ease the discomfort. The shortest path is to blame others. Which, again, according to Brown, is a wrong way to deal with vulnerability.
Of course, the Bible is filled with stories of people who grappled with personal culpability. Some handled it well and some did not. I won’t repeat these at length, but here are two of my favorites.
Adam blamed Eve for giving him the forbidden fruit, and she blamed the serpent. But God held everyone accountable.—(Genesis 3) #wrongway
When King David was confronted, after he committed adultery and murder, he blamed only himself saying, “I have sinned.” –(2 Samuel 12:13) He admitted his accountability. #rightway
Back when I served as a worship pastor, I once convinced our church to sponsor a popular Christian recording artist in concert. I assured our parish council that ticket sales would cover the cost of bringing this person in. I was wrong. The concert lost $3000!
The first thing I did was start thinking of excuses. But as my wheels turned, the Holy Spirit burned something into my heart: “Say it was your fault.”
So I did. I stood before the church’s leaders and admitted that I blew it. However, to my surprise, they disagreed! “We voted to do this,” said an older deacon, “It’s on ALL of us.” And everyone agreed!?
I experienced God’s grace with skin on that night. All because, with His help I was able to say, “It was my fault.”
This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.Isaiah 66:2
For a great story about a person who faced a vulnerable situation through God’s provision, please read this post by Musings and Roses.