Ever since I was a kid I’ve liked real stories about real people. I like to know where they come from, what they do, and how they think. I like the 15 second interviews on Jeopardy almost (but not quite) as much as I like the questions. My favorite genre of books is biography.
All that to say I like to watch people and figure them out.
Which is why I sometimes watch Live PD. Not really a guilty pleasure, because in a lot of ways, it’s not even pleasurable. If you haven’t watched it (and I’m not recommending it to everyone), it’s basically watching police arrest people in 12 cities around the country. Live. You have everything from domestic altercations, trespassing, robberies, speeding tickets, broken tail lights, etc. One night they caught a escaped prisoner. (Watching Live PD is an interesting contrast to Hallmark movies.)
Some of the people are scared, some clam up, some are arrogant and a good percentage are drunk.
But one of the things I’ve noticed is that a lot of people seemingly don’t own things – like cars or coats … or responsibility for their own actions. Often scenes go like this:
Police: Do you have any drugs or weapons in the car?
AR (arrested person): No, no, I’m clean.
Police: Look at this right here in the glove compartment. Cocaine!
AR: I don’t know how it got there. This isn’t my car. The car belongs to my uncle’s girlfriend’s nephew’s neighbor.
Police: Why do you have it?
AR: He just loaned it to me so I could go to work.
Even more outlandish are the coat stories.
Police: Not sure how that knife got in the pocket. This isn’t my coat.
Police: But you’re wearing it?
AR: I know, but it belongs to my neighbor’s son.
Seems as if very few people drive their own cars or wear their own coats.
Hmmm … I wonder what the most convoluted blame-game story is that the police have ever heard.
Because the blame game is not new.
Adam and Eve started it back in Genesis.
The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12-13)
Adam said it wasn’t his fault but Eve’s (the woman You gave to me). Eve said it wasn’t her fault, but the serpent who deceived her.
And so the blame game began and is still thriving and not just on Live PD.
We’re all guilty.
I didn’t get it done because the kids were acting up and …
I meant to call my friend, but my husband needed me to …
I want to serve at church, but the director chose a bad curriculum …
And our kids pick up on this. They didn’t get a good grade because the teacher unfairly made the test too hard. They can’t make friends because no one likes them. They can’t memorize the verse because no one explained the words to them.
Sure, sometimes other people do get in our way. (And I’m sure somewhere, sometime, the police stopped a guy who really was driving his aunt’s neighbor’s nephew’s car.) But those instances are rare.
We need to take responsibility for our own actions.
Because, God has something to say about it.
But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. (Galatians 6:4-5)
Just think if everyone owned their actions. Just think if we all took responsibility for what we’ve done. Just think if we were intentional in teaching out kids that each of us has to bear our own load.
We need to ask ourselves — what have we blamed others for lately?
And then we need to turn that around and own our actions.
That’s the right thing to do.
(Ahhhh, if you’re ever on Live PD, admit that its YOUR car.)