This week my three big kids were riding their bikes in the cul-de-sac in front of our house. I decided to grab my phone to take pictures of them for an upcoming review and that’s when the grumpiness started. Everybody wanted to be first in line, or in the middle, or anywhere but where I asked them to be. It was hot and I was sweating in the blazing Austin heat, asking: Just one more picture please!
My oldest daughter peddled furiously, trying to stay ahead of the twins and I watched at the exact moment her wheel hit a rock in the road. It made her back tire slide out from under her and it was like slow motion as she toppled over to one side, her hip taking the brunt of the fall.
YOU MADE ME FALL! YOU BUMPED INTO ME!!! Those were the words she shrieked, her eyes wild and accusing as she charged at her brother and sister who had come to a screeching halt. That’s what she thought.
But the reality was– she fell all by herself.
You made me…Those are some dangerous words. Because it’s an excuse someone gives when they want to blame and accuse anyone but themselves to avoid taking ownership of their actions.
I tried to explain to my daughter that in her quest to be the fastest, she stopped paying attention to the road–that her brother and sister weren’t anywhere near her when she fell. But it was her own carelessness that caused her pain. I wish I could say she accepted that and we moved on–instead she got more riled up, so she ended up having to cool down in her room.
A few days later I was running on some trails near my house, trying to get used to running over rocks and roots, bumps and holes, as I train for my first 100 mile race. I’m not used to running trails, and I have this fear that I’ll get attacked so I was so focused on looking ahead, left and right–I forgot I should be paying attention to my footing and the rocks right under my feet.
And when I finally did glance down, I jumped back while screaming at the same time–I landed on my backside, inches away from a 4 foot long snake. And just like my daughter, tears sprang to my eyes, my heart was racing wildly, adrenaline pumping through me a mile a minute. I wanted to shake my fist and scream: YOU MADE ME FALL!!! YOU SCARED ME!! But the snake had been there all along. It wasn’t moving at that moment. I was the one that wasn’t paying attention and put myself in a situation that anyone looking in on would have been able to predict–she’ll get scared. She’ll fall.
I dusted myself off and stood up, shaking and upset. I still had 5 more miles to run. I could have turned around and ran a mile or so back to the pavement, or continued on running the trail, desperately needing the practice. I chose the trail. And this time I knew to keep my eyes on the ground in front of me–and I wasn’t quite as surprised when I crossed paths with two more snakes.
Eventually, we all fall down. We all make mistakes. Do things we regret. Things we wish we could take back. But it’s what we do after we fall that shows our character and true heart. When we choose to play the blame game, we miss the opportunity to do right and better.
I’m watching the blame game unfold before my eyes with Christian bloggers addressing the falling of two men. And the non-religious view is placing blame on conservative Christian beliefs for pushing these men to their corrupt behavior.
Society is to blame for these mens’ sins is their argument. Their actions, “… the logical extension of the society we have created and cultivated.” If we didn’t overly sexualize little girls, then the Jared Fogle thing wouldn’t have happened. If we respected purity, chastity and marriage more…well, then Josh Duggar wouldn’t have found himself on Ashley Madison. And on the other side is the argument that conservative Christianity is what made them do it. These men don’t even have to say it themselves, we’re saying it for them. People are giving them an out, society MADE THEM DO IT! Conservative Christianity MADE THEM DO IT!
You made me. Such a dangerous phrase. Because no matter what a little girl wears she shouldn’t be seen as sexual being in a man’s eyes. No matter how tired a wife is, or how much sin is going on in the world around us–that doesn’t excuse a man for being unfaithful. Because when you love your brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, and innocent children–you don’t objectify them. Love is patient and kind.
Society isn’t to blame for our falls. Neither is religion. Nobody makes us sin. And we all fall down, not because of someone else but because of the choices we make.
Never Give Up,