When things go wrong we often look for someone to blame. Take a fender-bender. Those in the accident are likely to point the finger at the other driver as the one responsible for the dent. I was once accused even when the other driver was drunk. The fault for an accident, if there is one, could be some other driver who forced a driver into a wrong space. Of course, it could have been an accident when no one needed to be blamed.

In personal relationships, we sometimes go out of our way to assign blame. A friend of mine told me a sad story about a friend of his whose ex-husband died one year after their divorce. Friends of the husband were blaming the ex-wife/widow for causing the death. Their thought was that if she hadn't divorced him he would still be alive. His death, of course, had nothing to do with her. A failed heart surgery was the prelude to the man's death. The ex-wife went to the funeral because she still had an emotional connection to the deceased and her family. It was a painful experience for her, however, because even her children blamed her for their father's death.

The Bible is filled with examples of people blaming others for things that went wrong -- even blaming God. In one of the creation stories God said to Adam, "Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate." The Lord God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent tricked me, and I ate." (Genesis 3: 11-13) Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. That story is much like those children tell when they've been caught being naughty. Adults do it too.

Jesus encouraged us not to blame others for human failures. He asks, "Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?" He went on to say that one should deal with the "log" in one's own eye before criticizing anyone else. (Matt. 7:3-5)

If anyone had the right to assign blame to others it was Jesus who was brutally crucified. Yet, we hear these words from the cross: "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)

There are plenty of examples of people blaming each other for failures in our society that are just a matter of opinion. Politicians seem to make it a practice to rejoice at the mishaps of the other party while ignoring their own inability to make credible decisions. Our participation in these blame games can keep us apart from each another too.

In Buddhist societies, there is a generous spirit given to one another. Rather than arguing a point, one simply is able to express one's own point of view without criticizing the other person. There is a generous give and take even when it comes to having the right-away when riding scooters. And how blessed it would be if we could follow the example of Jesus who cared more about offering forgiveness than assigning blame. We need to be kind to one another. Even the winners become losers in the blame game.