Blame Shifting From Perp to Victim

Malachi 2:13-14 ESV  And this second thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand.  (14)  But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.

Evil always works to take the focus from itself and place it on its victim or on others in general. Here in Malachi the Israelites had been consistently sinning in obvious ways and yet with their weeping and wailing they blame the Lord. “Why doesn’t He bless us? There’s the real problem. He isn’t being good to us like He promised.” No one talks about the real cause which is their own sin.

I have seen this over and over again, as no doubt many of you have. Some wickedness, sin, or crime is committed. It is discovered. It is known. And yet, over time (even a short period of time), through the blame-shifting efforts of the wicked, the focus moves to the victim. The victim did this or that. The victim did not respond in a right way. The victim needs to….. yada, yada, yada.

Over the years we have had to deal with many wicked people who crept in among us in some saintly disguise. When their sin was found out and confronted, inevitably the discussion at some point (usually sooner than later) was less and less about the evildoer’s evildoings, and more and more about our supposed faults. How we handled things in a wrong manner, allegedly. How unforgiving we were.

And no one seems to have the sense to step back for a moment and look at the landscape of the situation. Namely, that the victim and others affected by the evil person’s wickedness, had not asked to be put in a situation of having to deal with it. Everyone seems to forget that the entire mess was caused by the evildoer. The domestic abuse victim would not have to be filing for divorce or asking church leaders for help or exposing her abuser’s sins if the abuser were not abusing her!

I have seen this repeatedly, as I said. A child is sexually molested. We had the mess dumped right in our laps. The thing had to be handled, and we dealt with it. And surprisingly early on in the whole thing, the focus of bystanders was to begin to cast stones at us. No one asked, “how are you doing? How is the victim doing?” No one said, “I am so sorry that you have been put in this position. It must be very tough.” And make no mistake, in the end all the talk was about our “sins.” 

And this same twisted, wicked dynamic is what is playing out almost daily in local churches. Victim blaming. Perpetrator protecting. The victim is guilty you see. The victim is driven out from the community. And the wicked one ends up embraced.

The thing is from the devil and his spawn:

John 8:44 ESV  You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

3 thoughts on “Blame Shifting From Perp to Victim

  1. This is a great reminder, because when we face these strange dynamics in our own lives, they are new to us, and it’s hard to imagine that people actually think and respond this way. But here we see that the same mind games and spiritual crazy-making we experience has been going on since the beginning of time!

    There really is nothing new under the sun.

    So the battle for truth rages. And we know the One who goes before us, the One who has already won the war.

  2. I think you’re missing a negative in the 5th paragraph. The victim and the bystanders did NOT ask to be put in such a situation, but the evildoer brought that on them. Maybe I’m misreading the 2nd sentence, where it is italicized.

    Good post, Pastor!

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