Friday, January 15, 2016


Something's been getting under my skin for the past few months. It's the attitude that if you just do things the “right” way, nothing will ever go wrong for you. For example, on a podcast about natural birth, the host said that if she hadn't been born by cesarean section, then maybe her children would not have had digestive issues. Now isn't that silly? As if a natural birth could prevent any type of medical problem. But that's how many people think. They believe if you take the right kind of vitamins then you won't get sick. Or if you eat organic food then you'll lose weight. So when something does go wrong, then obviously it's your fault because you didn't take the proper steps to prevent it.

What gives? Should we assign a cause to every misfortune? The list of culprits is endless: genetics, diet, bad habits, lack of medical care, poor planning, and so on. Of course, there are reasons for bad things happening, still I don't think that assigning blame is that easy.

During the time humans have lived in this world, how often has someone sailed through life as a “golden child” with no problems? We'd have to be kidding ourselves to think that it has EVER happened. There is no golden child. We all have problems. I'm going to get sick. You're going to get sick. I'm going to struggle with my character flaws. You're going to have conflict in your family. I'm going to lose a job or have financial woes. You're going to have a car break down at an inopportune moment. This is life.

We've got to stop blaming each other (I think we all know who the real bad guy is, old Satan), and start really caring about each other. Assigning blame is one way we justify opting out of our responsibility to help each other. For example, if I believe that Tommy's heart attack is the result of his terrible diet, then perhaps he deserves his hospital stay, and I don't feel the need to visit him or take a meal to his family. But this is a wrong attitude.

Blame is a compassion-killer. It's hard to put yourself in the other person's shoes when you're thinking “If they hadn't done X, then Y wouldn't have happened to them. It's also a way to self-protect, because we also think, “I don't do X, so Y can't happen to me.” And we minimize and marginalize other people's pain.

Remember Jesus' story of the man who was robbed on the highway? Two very fine and upstanding citizens both passed the man by. Perhaps they were thinking that in some way the man deserved to die. Maybe he didn't take the proper precautions against thieves. But the Samaritan man was different. He had compassion. He stopped, bandaged the man's wounds, and took him to a safe place. I don't want to pass people by while thinking that their situation is all their own fault. I want to be more like the Samaritan. I want to have compassion.

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