Things to Give Up for Lent: Blame and Guilt

I have missed a couple of days of writing my blog. My good intentions are just that, good intentions. Ministry and life got in the way, which leads me to the next two things on the list from the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherds forty things to give up for Lent.

Blame– I am not going to pass the buck. I will take responsibility for my actions.

Guilt– I am loved by Jesus and he has forgiven my sins. Today is a new day and the past is behind.

So, here I am, three days off of my goal of posting each day in lent and of COURSE the two days that are next in the list are blame and guilt!  In my first paragraph I noted what I hadn’t done and how life and ministry got in the way. Excuses? Blaming myself? Feeling Guilty?  What a teeter totter!

see-saw blame guilt (1)

Actually, it is none of those things. I am not blaming my life or my ministry or feeling guilty. Although, I have to admit there were times in my life I would have been beating up on myself for not doing more, producing more and getting more done. And the truth is, I probably could have pushed it and gotten a couple of blogs done.  Instead, I spent more time focused on a funeral sermon, and being present with Andrew even though I had that funeral on my day off.

Seems like in our culture there are two kinds of folks: those who blame everyone else and those who always blame themselves. Neither is terribly healthy. To never take responsibility for things is arrogant and prideful. Always blaming oneself is false humility. The  other side of that coin is never feeling guilty or always feeling guilty. There is certainly a happy medium or not so happy since it usually involves making a mistake or failing.


Neither blame nor guilt can really make a difference in the world. Blame only keeps a person from checking their own motivations and guilt is only good if it helps change behavior. Owning responsibility for good and sometimes for ill is about maturity and being real.

Blame and guilt often keep us, keep me from trying to become all I long to be as a Christian. They become excuses to not do anything, “because I won’t get it right, I am not good enough, somebody can do a better job.” The spiritual task is to balance. That is probably an excellent lenten discipline! No one balances well, but if we can find ways to understand we are not super human, not perfect, that all of us make mistakes and learn to give up the guilt trips and blame games, certainly our lives and others would be so much better.


Brandon Sanderson’s quote says it all. How do I do what he says? Beats me. Maybe it just means to quit believing that whole world rests on shoulders. Maybe it means to trust that my best effort, your best effort is enough to truly make a difference in the world. So today, I am not beating myself at not keeping up with my lenten discipline of blogging each day. I am starting over right now and going to continue to work toward trusting that God’s love and grace are enough to carry me when I fall, to challenge when I become complacent and challenge me to continue to grow. With that faith, I am graced to serve.


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