Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Dangerous Dance of Deflecting

I have no one to blame but myself.
That isn’t a sentence we hear very often any more in our society.  It is a sentence of owning up to a mistake, a crime, an accident, a character flaw, an overreaction, and numerous other possibilities.  Have you ever gotten caught doing something, I don’t know what, but you do, and how did you respond?  I find that even now if I am asked a question I have to fight my initial urge to deflect the pressure elsewhere instead of taking the responsibility.  What happens when we take on the responsibility?  Our actions come to light and right or wrong, we often fear that our actions will not be accepted, and so we begin to dance.
I have begun to run into this more and more as I work with people.  A revelation comes to what the core of a particular problem may be and they begin to squirm and dance around and deflect the blame onto someone else.  I drive in traffic, I get frustrated at how someone else is driving, and I realize they haven’t done anything wrong; it is just my shortcoming of running behind schedule that has me all frustrated.  However, it is easier for me to grumble at someone who is talking on their phone and driving the speed limit.  As I grumble, I get a call and am also talking on my phone as a different car zooms by.
Why is this in our nature?  Do we understand that if we become inundated with the idea that we must deflect the focus when the pressure begins to mount that we are opening the door to a whole host of problems?  We begin to throw innocent bystanders under the bus, we never take on the full responsibility for our actions and therefore never grow, we never let the light shine into our darkest secrets but instead we keep the door shut and offer up someone else if someone threatens to shine the light on us.  I think about how, recently, I have tried to own up to a lot of my shortcomings and I have to say, in large part because of facing the challenges, I have grown from that. 
Think of parenting, if your child continually blames someone else and you never cause them to face up to the responsibility of their actions, what will that lead to?  If we take it to the extreme measure, how often does a criminal confess to what they have done?  Many times, there has to be evidence gathered beyond any doubt before a criminal pays for the offense they committed.  Why?  Because otherwise they wouldn’t face up to the responsibility, pay for the crime, and justice would be served.
So what does this mean?
I believe if we shirk our responsibility in taking credit where credit is due, right or wrong, we are hindering ourselves from a key growth that we need.  I believe we make it ok to not go through with the healing process we may desperately need.  What if we talked ourselves out of the fact that we commit a sin?  What if we are confronted about it but never own up to it?  What if someone presents evidence that we have sinned, but instead of taking responsibility, we simply say it is something we are predisposed to because of something that happened in our past?  Or someone else wronged us and so it has to be their fault more than it is ours?  We walk away still in sin and feeling justified.
Have we explained away sin? 
I am a person that believes we should study the Scripture, and we should allow the Spirit to guide us throughout this life.  I believe there are many man imposed rules that are unnecessary and yet imposed by the church, however, I also believe that many of those who enforce those “rules” (I am also guilty) would love to justify the sin that is in our life and sit back and be okay with it.  It is easier to dance this dance of deflection than to deal with the deep heart matters that we feel the prodding of His Spirit leading us to deal with.  This is a hindrance in our growth in Christ; our sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading, and cripples us in many other avenues in our walk with God.
So the next time you have the chance to own up to taking responsibility, and you feel as though someone is asking you to dance, refuse the dance, accept the responsibility.  It may not be initially enjoyable, but in time, you will be glad you did.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

G K Chesterton once responded to a challenge in his local London newspaper asking folks to assert what they thought was wrong with the world. Chesterton famously replied:

"What's wrong with the world? I am!"

Such honesty is courageously sane; the deflection you describe is both cowardly and the furthest thing from sane I can think of.

-Rev Tony Breeden