In biblical discipleship counseling a blame shift is exactly what the terms imply, a shifting of blame from oneself and on to a person or circumstance. It allows the blame shifter to avoid taking responsibility for his or her actions or words that contributed to or were responsible for the situation.

For example, a husband with an anger problem will blame his wife for his angry outbursts. A wife will blame the husband for the silent treatment (grudge bearing) she gives him because she disagrees with a decision that was made.

We are good at blame shifts because we are prideful people whose first line of defense for the wrong we do is to blame others or circumstances to justify our bad behavior.

As a biblical counselor I see blame shifts frequently and am perfectly capable of launching one myself even though I’ve learned it’s a bad plan. It’s also sin and nothing good comes from it.

When Jesus said get the log out of your own eye before you get the twig out of someone else’s eye what he meant was “get responsible” for your own sin and faults; then you just might be able to help someone else see their own.

Sadly, blame shifting is so common and so seemingly normal we rarely recognize how detrimental it is in solving problems, both personal and national.

On a national scale we see blame blameshifting on a massive scale. Examples are not hard to find especially in politics. Perhaps the best example is what happens every time there is a mass shooting.

The blame culprit always seems to be the gun. The victim’s families barely have to time to grieve or think before the parade of politicians emerge to blame the gun and the NRA for the problem. Their solution is what they call “common sense” gun control as if some new law would somehow reduce mass shootings or eliminate them all together. The call to “do something” presumably anything, resonates with people because every decent person recognizes that a mass shooting is a horrific event and who would not want to prevent them if we somehow could..

Sadly, even when it is suggested that the shooter himself is at least partially responsible it’s assumed he is deranged or somehow mentally ill thus putting the blame more on what’s assumed to be a type of illness rather than the real culprit-human nature and an act of pure evil.

This is why more astute observers of mass shootings correctly identify the problem as a moral\spiritual issue. Whether a person shoots one person or one hundred persons it’s still murder. The desire to murder someone comes from the inside out; not the outside in. This has been true from Cain and Able to the last mass shooting.

Here are the words of Jesus:

43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 6:43–45). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

The treasure in the heart is the key phrase. The word “heart” in our culture is often misused as some kind of emotional response such as “my heart told me” this or that. The biblical meaning of the term is much deeper. It refers to the inner person or soul. It includes the mind, the will, the emotions and what biblical counselors call the desires\passions of the heart.

Jesus clearly says what’s on the inside is what a person truly treasures and if evil is treasured it will squirt out often in horrific ways. This means that mass shootings are a moral\spiritual\societal problem that is not going to be solved by doing something, anything that does not deal with the depravity of man and what evil some are willing to perpetrate on others.

We live in a culture adrift from most moral moorings. What was once assumed to be wrong is now considered right. In fact if you hold to the old moral moorings you are accused of being a bigot. The venom is more often than not directed against bible believing Christians who understand Jesus’ words.

The cultural rot is plain to see for anyone with eyes to see and obviously most do not have the eyes to see or we would not have as much blame shifting as we do.

A portent is a sign or warning that something, especially something momentous or calamitous, is likely to happen. Mass shootings are portents in my opinion. They point to the depravity of man and what evil man is capable of. The evil is on the inside and a gun is the tool, a tool that can be used for good or bad but when wielded by a person bent on evil it has horrific consequences.

The murderer of all types; whether they kill one person, four persons or twenty five take the lives of image bearers-people created in the image of God (although we are flawed image bearers). Mass murder is the warning that tells us just how far down the moral\spiritual slippery slip we’ve traveled.

The solution to mass shootings is not “do something, anything” that means more laws. The solution is we stop blame shifting and that starts with ourselves. When we apply that at a national level it means looking at root problems and recognizing that we are in a spiritual crisis rather than a gun crisis.