August 8, 2016
Moments after the Orlando shooting, the media began looking for motives.
In Japan, a former employee entered a mental care facility and murdered 19 patients and we want to understand why? Terror attacks in Nice, Munich and Istanbul create an atmosphere of fear but at least we know who is to blame.
We want to know why tragedy strikes so we can prevent future tragedies. We reason that If we can understand what motivates someone to kill, we could prevent homicides in the future. Like Tom Cruise in the futuristic movie Minority Report, we reason that we can eliminate crime, if we understand motive and can predict when someone will strike.
Knowing who or what is to blame, is often seen as the first step in creating a world free of tragedy.
I read recently where the United Nations reported, 437,000 people around the world were murdered in 2012 (their most recent report). However, National Geographic reports that 725,000 people die every year from diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. Freshwater snails transmit schistosomiasis, which kills between 20,000 and 200,000 a year. Annually, snakes kill 94,000 to 125,000; scorpions kill 3,250; sharks kill six people. And there’s no one to accuse for any of these tragedies.
It’s human nature to blame others so we can maintain the illusion of safety for ourselves, yet affixing blame alone rarely empowers us to find a solution.
Moving from global terror to personal relationships, affixing blame is just as prevalent. We want to assuage or personal pain, so we look for someone or some circumstance to blame. We reason after all, “I am hurting, I am wounded, I am a victim” therefore there must be someone responsible for my pain and discomfort – “there must be a villain.”
It is entirely possible that our personal pain is the result of others decisions and others behaviours; but more often than not, our pain is the result of our own decisions and our own behaviours – or at the very least, the result of our responses to others actions toward us. Blaming others or our circumstances for our unhappiness, is the short cut, the path of least effort, but it is also the least profitable. The most profitable path, the route of greatest fruit, is the one which accepts responsibility for our own happiness.
Are you familiar with Nick Vujicic? He is a famous international motivational speaker and a fellow follower of Jesus Christ. Nick is unique however, because he was born with no arms and no legs. Yet Nick has been an inspiration to millions because despite his limitations, he has forged an amazing life. How has he done it? I’ll let Nick tell you in his own words. “Often people ask how I manage to be happy despite having no arms and no legs. The quick answer is that I have a choice. I can be angry about not having limbs, or I can be thankful that I have a purpose. I chose gratitude.”
If you are in pain today. If life seems stacked up against you. Don’t take the posture of a victim, don’t look for someone to blame. Recognize no one else has power of your attitude but you, and instead take the road of personal responsibility, the road may be less crowded, but it is the only path that produces life.