Being the scapegoat isn’t easy
Having written for a living for more years than I care to remember, I am still amazed at how the dear Lord puts things in my path, brings subjects to my mind, or has someone ask a question that gives me the idea for the next column. There are days when I sit in my lovely office staring at the computer screen wondering what words are going to magically appear for me to send off to one of the editors I call my friends. I am blessed.
My neighbor’s home is a rustic wood chalet that makes one think of being on a trip to a faraway land. He keeps his lawn in near perfect condition. We often joke that surely he must get up during the night and trim unruly blades of grass with a pair of scissors to keep it so perfect looking most of the time.
To add to the joy of often looking out the two big windows, we now have a complete family of scampering squirrels, several groupings of singing birds with brightly colored feathers, and some gorgeous plants blooming to add color. The grape arbor is filled with plump, luscious grapes, and the lemon and lime trees are producing fruit.I have learned many lessons sitting here and I hopefully have made many decisions that are helpful not only to my family and me, but to others I love. Pondering the great truths of life, reading my Bible, devotional books, and sometimes, books with good stories about funny, intelligent, caring, hardworking, and interesting people also take place in this soft green shaded room. One of the things that I have been pondering took center stage today.
Being aware of a complicated situation that seemingly has no good answer for now, I witnessed a newly assigned role — scapegoat. Without going into detail that would be hurtful, the entire matter arose in a family over a money issue. Money was loaned, it was partially paid back, accidents happened that caused a lack of work, others got involved, misconceptions occurred that were never straightened out, and now, one individual has declared his unfounded opinion on the situation and made life miserable for those in his household. “Someone has to pay,” is his decree and he has set out to make that happen — over and over. The man does not know the true facts, nor does he care to learn them. His young wife is caught in a dilemma between two people she loves dearly, and fell haplessly into a plan that made someone else the culprit of the crime of not repaying a debt. I am convinced that no one planned this to happen, but like all relationship issues, the act happened and now has been blown completely out of proportion. Satan loves this scene. He delights in causing turmoil and pain.
Amazing to watch and difficult to define, a person harboring old hurts from a painful past simply has not found the strength or the Bible teaching of letting go and moving on with life. The devil is a master at bringing each surmised wrongdoing to the forefront of the wounded person’s mind and telling him over and over, “Yep, they’re going to get you again.” That is no way to live and it makes not only the individual so hurt a miserable, selfish, and often mean human being, and it affects every member of his household.
In this case, the scapegoat the young man has chosen is not guilty, but to rectify that and clear the matter up completely seemingly would cause another mountain of hurt to come tumbling down — particularly for the young wife. So, the scapegoat has basically said, “Bring it on. I will assume the role for now in order to protect those I love.”
However, even in that role, we must never allow someone else’s fears, unwillingness to face the truth, or misconceptions define our life. We can only know the truth for ourselves and live by that truth. There will be a day of reckoning and resolution. Until that time, we go on with living life. Being a scapegoat for someone else may be an honor at times, and especially so, if the person can live that role gracefully and with dignity.
Let’s be very cautious when and how we place blame and at least get the true facts before deciding someone is guilty of a crime or hurt.