Blaming others is a common human tendency. When something goes wrong, it’s easy to point the finger at someone else rather than taking responsibility. However, the Bible has a lot to say about blame and accountability.
As Christians, we are called to take the log out of our own eye before pointing out the speck in our brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5). In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore the Bible’s teachings on blaming others and learn to walk in grace, humility, and personal responsibility.
In our relationships with others, it’s easy to get into a blaming mindset. We may blame our spouse for problems in our marriage, blame our parents for issues in our childhood, blame our boss when things go wrong at work, or even blame God when life doesn’t go as we hoped.
This blaming posture often stems from a refusal to take personal responsibility or see our own contributions to the problem. It can lead to broken relationships, bitterness, and a victim mentality.
Blame shifting is as old as the Garden of Eden, where Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent when confronted by God (Genesis 3:12-13). But this is not the way of Jesus. He calls us to “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5).
As the saying goes, when we point one finger at someone else, three fingers point back at ourselves. The Bible exhorts us to examine our own hearts before blaming others.
- Blaming others is a common but unhealthy response when things go wrong
- Blame shifting originated with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
- Jesus calls us to examine ourselves before blaming others
- Blaming leads to damaged relationships and bitterness
- Taking personal responsibility is key to overcoming a blaming mindset
Top 10 Bible Verses About Blaming Others
- Genesis 3:12-13
Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
- Proverbs 19:3
The foolishness of a man twists his way, And his heart frets against the Lord.
- Matthew 7:3-5
And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
- Luke 6:41-42
And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
- Galatians 6:1-5
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.
- James 4:11-12
Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?
- Romans 2:1
Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
- Matthew 12:36-37
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
- 1 John 1:8-10
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
- Ezekiel 18:20
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
Old Testament Teachings on Blaming Others
The book of Exodus also establishes the principle that when property is borrowed or held in trust, the keeper is responsible for any loss unless theft can be proven (Exodus 22:10-13). This discourages dishonest blaming of others for loss or damage.
Proverbs specifically warns against blaming others for strife and relationship problems: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17).
This reminds us to hear both sides of a disagreement before assigning blame. Ecclesiastes 7:22 also cautions “do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you.” Blaming ourselves for every criticism will only lead to self-condemnation.
Several Old Testament figures model taking ownership when confronted with sin. Moses blames only himself and the people for Israel’s golden calf idol, even though Aaron forged it (Exodus 32:30-32).
Similarly, Saul admits his disobedience when confronted by Samuel (1 Samuel 15:24). This contrasts with Adam and Eve’s blame shifting. The Old Testament makes clear that while blaming others comes naturally, godly people take personal responsibility.
How Jesus Handled Accusations and Blame
In the Gospels, Jesus himself was frequently blamed or falsely accused by the religious leaders. They tried to paint him as a blasphemer and lawbreaker to undermine his popularity. But Jesus consistently responded with grace and truth.
When a woman caught in adultery was dragged before him, Jesus did not condemn her even though the law said she deserved stoning (John 8:2-11). Jesus focused on her accusers’ own hypocrisy and self-righteousness, famously saying “let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).
His mercy exposed their blame shifting. When challenged about violating the Sabbath, Jesus often pointed to biblical examples of exceptions to the rules or God’s higher purposes (Luke 6:1-11, 13:10-17). He drew attention to people’s needs, not just outward rule following.
Jesus repeatedly refuted flawed premises behind accusations against him. When Nicodemus assumed Jesus was an unauthorized teacher, he instead highlighted his divine commission (John 3:1-15).
When questioned about paying taxes, heexposed the faulty dichotomy of Caesar versus God by saying “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:15-22). Jesus insightfully identified and countered the assumptions behind blame rather than accepting others’ judgments.
Blame Within the Early Church
Jesus’ disciple James rebukes Christians for slandering and judging one another, noting our own spiritual weakness:
“brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it… There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you–who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:11-12).
Like Jesus, he exhorts believers to focus on God’s higher purposes rather than fixating on others’ perceived faults.
The apostle Paul pleads with the Corinthian church to avoid division and strife over their favorite leaders:
“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me…that there is quarreling among you.” (1 Corinthians 1:10-12).
According to Paul, blaming others and picking sides only destroys the church’s unity.
In several letters, Paul instructs churches not to judge each other over debatable matters like dietary laws. To the Romans he writes, “Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats.” (Romans 14:3).
Their differing convictions did not justify blame and condemnation. Focusing on God’s approval rather than others’ judgments promotes unity.
Overcoming a Blaming Mindset: Biblical Principles
Based on the Bible’s extensive teachings, what principles can help believers overcome tendencies to falsely blame others? How can we take logs out of our own eyes? Here are several key guidelines that emerge:
Examine your own heart first. As Jesus taught, we need to humbly assess our own attitudes, words, and actions before looking for faults in others.
Take responsibility for your contribution. Even if others are partly to blame, godly wisdom requires acknowledging how we may have provoked, escalated, or prolonged conflicts. Overlooking others’ faults can promote peace (Proverbs 19:11). We cannot control others but we can control our own responses. Focus on your duty.
Consider different perspectives. Proverbs 18:17 observes “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” Get all sides of a disagreement before drawing conclusions. Listen thoughtfully to others’ needs and concerns. Seek to understand rather than rushing to judge.
Speak truth gently. Ephesians 4:15 says we should speak the truth in love. While sin should be confronted, gentle restoration should be the goal rather than condemnations or power struggles. Think about how you would want to be corrected. Season truth with grace.
Forgive as you want to be forgiven. God forgives our faults when we humble ourselves. We are called to “forgive others as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13). Overcome evil with good rather than retaliation. Let go of grudges and resentments. Foster understanding.
From Genesis to Revelation, Scripture urges personal accountability rather than blaming others. This begins with humbly examining our own hearts rather than reflexively accusing others.
In speech, we should build others up rather than gossip or judge. In action, we should seek to resolve conflicts through grace, truth, responsibility, and forgiveness. Blame often feels justified from our limited perspective.
But God sees all hearts. As we grow in grace, we can develop eyes that see beyond our own interests to walk compassionately with others. Our shared identity as forgiven sinners can overcome tendencies to attack and shift blame.
Rather than playing the blame game which divides relationships, the Bible calls us to walk in grace, humility, and wisdom.
I pray this overview of Scripture’s perspective on blame helps you have compassion even when conflicts and offenses arise. With God’s help, may we take logs out of our own eyes so we can love others as He loved us.Copy