Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

somebody's always to blame


There’s an expression which we occasionally hear which seems to proclaim that certain events happen without any human agency. There is no one to blame. The more polite version of the expression goes like this: Stuff (simply just) happens!

Since generally the events thus described are painful, we hesitate to classify them as acts of God, though when the event has obvious natural causes like storm damage, we might be tempted to do so.

For the most part though, we humans seem obsessed by the idea that every problem we face has to involve a culprit, though some times that culprit appears in our mirror. This need or drive to identify the guilty party in so many life situations is just another holdover from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Adam and Eve were led to feel deficient in the Garden. They were told that God was to be blamed because he was holding them back, denying them godlike knowledge. They jumped at the chance to play the blame game and here we are sometime later still playing.

In reality I suspect the cause/effect relationship behind human behavior, for good or ill, is complex and little understood even by behavioral experts. What we view as willful ignorance or malfeasance on the part of others is probably driven by a web of interconnected early childhood influences, genetically determined personality traits, and general life experiences. Thus the decisions which demonstrate themselves in adverse ways and therefore draw criticism are not purely discretionary, i.e. freely determined and without the powerful effects of multiple mental/psychological factors.

Such an observation does not absolve someone from the need to accept the consequences of their actions, but it should give us pause in our propensity to make hasty judgments with limited knowledge of the background circumstances. If we can dismiss some natural events as just “stuff that happens and no one is to blame”, we might consider whether other stuff with a human agent is not similarly just the “stuff that inevitably happens” given all that has shaped the life of that agent.