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Who’s to Blame?

Who’s to Blame?

Voices in the background hurried my hands through soapy dishwater. Louder and more urgent they beckoned me to intervene.

“You took it.”

“I had it first.”

“You wouldn’t give it to me.”

“It’s mine.”

I scrubbed frantically against a blob of melted cheese baked on the metal, rushing cleanliness ahead of sure interruption.

“Mom,” I heard the first call.

Its echo elongated, an offended, “M-OOOOO-M-M-M!”

Thuds from four little feet ran my way. My hands already buried in a towel, I turned to face two little girls with bright red cheeks, blonde braids half in front and half behind. Blame poured from their turned down mouths like a river.

“Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” God asked Adam. I suppose if He did not receive a direct answer, it should not have surprised me that my own children frustrated me in the same way. The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”

And Eve couldn’t let that be. “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Gen. 3:11-13, NASB)

What guilt hides, blame covers.

No one likes to be caught in the wrong. It is humiliating to see myself unfavorably from another’s viewpoint. But, it is an essential piece of Gospel training.

Next time you are faced with the task of untangling who is to blame in your house, remember, admitting wrong, surrender and obedience are basics to the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation and spiritual growth. An attitude of tender conscience will temper rebellion and pave the way for submission to Christ.

Here are three goals to help you and your child navigate the blame game.

  1. Acknowledgement of wrong.

Insist each one owns up to personal conduct. Don’t be afraid of the “s” word. God was not hesitant to name sin and describe its gravity. For a child to understand obedience and surrender, he or she must learn to acknowledge wrong, to understand what pleases God, what does not, and to call out sin.

  1. Acceptance of responsibility.

Talk about choice and alternative responses. Help them see how they could have responded better. Resist excuses because of another’s actions. They undercut honesty and ultimately reflect on our relationship to God. Trustworthy people are schooled by the lessons of trusting God and doing right in spite of difficult situations.

  1. Joy of restoration.

Give hope. Encourage them to anticipate a good ending to the scuffle. Humble pie once swallowed leaves a satisfaction of pure relief. Celebrate the ridiculous joy of a child with a clean conscience.

Rejecting blame requires humility. The Psalmist wrote in Ps. 51:17, “…A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”(NASB).  Surrender is a discipline for all ages.

Two little girls happy again embraced cheek to cheek. Arms tight around each other, smiles on their faces, they were done with fights and blame. Seriously, I’m not sure who started what or why it blew up. I do know that their hearts won the battle. Softness of sister-love conquered.

“Wanna play Legos?”


“You first.”

I held my breath as they ran off to play.

By: Sylvia Schroeder serves as Women’s Care Coordinator at Avant Ministries. She and her husband raised four children in Italy and Germany, where they were missionaries with Avant. Their children are all married and they have twelve grandchildren. Visit her blog, When the House is Quiet, at

Join us at for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

One Comment

  1. Wonderful lesson for us all. Becoming a little child again. Remembering such important reality. Sin, forgiveness, reconciliation.

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