Blameless—We Don’t Justify Their Actions!
“He hit me first!”
Nice try, but it doesn’t work. The one who threw the first punch may be held legally accountable, but we are not in the game of legal winners and losers. We are in a contest for hearts. The one who threw the first punch can almost always justify his behavior.
The only way to have a leg to stand on in an argument is to be blameless. Even if the other person insults me first, my insult back will cause him to feel justified in what he said, even though he said it before I responded. That is the way we work as human beings. “I knew that’s how he is” is a stronger internal force than who threw the first punch.
When we respond back to a person in a way that is even a little bit sick, the other person will see it through the lens of his offense. We all see from inside of our current spiritual flow. An angry or bitter person is not listening to what you say. He is listening to what he hears you say. It is a guaranteed fact that what he hears you say will come through the filter of his offense toward you.
In the mind of an offended person, it really doesn’t matter who went first. It doesn’t matter who had the more grotesque behavior. Logic or fairness is not part of the equation. His response is driven by what he sees, feels, and experiences. He sees through a dirty lens! (Matthew 6:23).
There is only one way to win hearts. We have to work at changing the spiritual flow. We have to work at changing the tone of the moment back to one where a person has “ears to hear” (Matt. 13:9). When we deescalate a situation, we at least give ourselves a chance to be heard. The anger subsides and the other person is then able to hear through the filter of a calmer spirit. Less of his past junk will be ruling the moment, ruling what he thinks he is hearing.
I learned years ago that reasoning with a drunk is a waste of time. Occasionally I can learn something from a drunk about what is offending him at a more hidden level. Frequently the babble of a drunk is something that he needs to talk about as a sober person. The drunken time reveals where he is not willing to honest as a sober person. But to try to deal with that issue during the drunken phase is a waste of time. Those discussions are seldom remembered and almost never effective.
The same is true when dealing with a person whose emotions are highly elevated. All kinds of wounds or traumas from the past are being triggered. You are not dealing with a person who is living in the present. And worse yet, he doesn’t know that he is not living in the present. Just as a drunk thinks he is being rational, so the elevated person will believe he is dealing with a current situation in a reasonable way. He is “justified” in his elevated response.
When we answer back in a way that mirrors what has been said to us, we strengthen that “I am justified” response. Once a person feels justified, anything you say can or will be used against you. He will take anything you say out of context and twist it to further justify his wounded or self-righteous state. Most attempts to resolve anything during a time of escalation will be no more successful than ministering to a drunk.
To win hearts, we must be able to change the tone of the situation. That may take a third party to intervene. If there is some good history, the person being attacked can respond in a way that deescalates the situation. Some form of a time out can be taken. That can be done by directly asking for space to step back. Occasionally, a change of topic works or “Let’s get ice cream and then we can discuss this!” If the person being attacked can maintain a godly spiritual flow, it often will cause the person who is offended to snap into a different spiritual place. Once in a better place spiritually, he will hear differently.
We are spiritual beings. We respond heart to heart much more than we respond mind to mind. We hear messages that are sent with spiritual attachments and we receive them through our own spiritual attachments. To get to a place where we can actually hear one another person, we have to be at a place of relative calm spiritually.
Do you tend to communicate out of anger? Do you generally have an “axe to grind” with others? Can you bring the tone of your concerns to a place of a fact finding inquiry? Do you communicate to others that you are for them and that your heart is to work toward solutions and growth? Do you see yourself as better than others? Do you “talk down” to those who “need help”? If you set a negative tone, others will not be able to hear what you would want to communicate. When your tone is “for others,” they will be much more able to hear.
Our goal should be to win hearts. The only way to do that is to be blameless in our response. Blameless means not taking an offense. Don’t take the response of others personally!!! Others respond according to triggers that are much greater than this current situation. If you believe that you are the primary “cause” to this person’s response, you will take it personally and you will be the cause of an escalating response!
Obviously, if you have responded poorly to this person in the past, own your own stuff. Repent quickly and openly. Lay groundwork for restoration of relationship, though chances of that happening at a moment of escalation are slim.
Blameless means maintaining an attitude of being for the other person. Blameless means keeping your eyes on any possibility of a God solution or growth. Blameless means managing the current situation so that tomorrow (or some later moment) can have the possibility of a healthy, hearing conversation.
Respect is huge. When we don’t respond to an angry person in kind, we make it much more likely that the other person will respect us. Thus we open the door for godly influence in the future.
Obviously, we win respect in more ways than just not answering back negatively during a crisis. To truly be blameless, we need to be free of hypocrisy in all areas. Free of hypocrisy doesn’t mean that we have to be perfect, just reasonably consistent and transparent in areas that we are struggling. When we claim a level of maturity that is not there, people won’t respect us.
In a crisis, you can choose between a “justified” response or a godly response. A better way is to walk blameless. To walk blameless is the only way to give yourself the chance to win hearts—to effectively do the work of God.