I was struck by a recent report about the culture of blame which has come to characterise our society.
It suggested that this culture of criticism is destroying community life because we fail to recognise the good and affirm those who do their best. It said that this negative, blame-seeking approach is slowly destroying our civilised society and may be one of the reasons why few want to be teachers, why few want to be school governors, why more good candidates don’t stand for election or why fewer offer themselves for the ordained ministry.
It is no longer acceptable to make mistakes. When things go wrong someone must answer and pay. Clearly, there are instances when mistakes are unacceptable but we need to support and affirm all those who take responsibility for the good of the community.
What is the Christian alternative to the culture of blame? Well, it is forgiveness. We are called to forgive because we have been forgiven. This has always been God’s way for his people and when people are too scared to move for fear of making a mistake which could cost them their job or their home, a culture of forgiveness is a very powerful and attractive alternative.
It’s hard to live the distinctive lifestyle that Jesus calls us to live. It’s hard to stand out from the crowd. Christians must demonstrate that there is an alternative to the way of life lived by those around us.
A community which accepts that we are all fallible human beings who make mistakes and which proclaims a message of forgiveness and restoration can have a huge influence for good in our society.
May we remember to ask God to ‘forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us’.