After a city-owned dump truck smashed his car, Curtis Gokey decided to sue the town to have his car fixed. Gokey headed to the town seeking $3,600 in damages, but he was forced to admit that he was at fault in the accident. Curtis Gokey wasn’t just the victim. He was also the town employee driving the dump truck!
The city denied his claim and the courts rejected his suit because it is nonsensical to sue yourself. Gokey wasn’t one to be deterred, though. Shortly after his initial rejections, his wife tried her luck at filing a suit. The town has successfully argued that since she’s married to him, therefore she can’t sue him.
I’m not a lawyer. I can’t speak intelligently about the legal merits or how this situation should work, but it feels a lot like someone doesn’t want to take responsibility for his actions–even when they were accidental.
Humankind has a tendency to pass the buck. When, in Eden, God questioned Adam about his sin, he pointed his finger at Eve who pointed her finger at the Serpent (Genesis 3:12-13). After Aaron helped Israel construct a golden calf while Moses was on Sinai, he quickly shifted the blame to “those” people (Exodus 32:22-24).
It’s an alluring temptation: if I can shift responsibility for my errors onto someone else, I can avoid the pain and the consequences that come my way. Our society excels at blame-shifting. I’m the way I am because of my parents, my environment, my third grade teacher…we’ll pass blame to anyone or anything—except our own decision-making.
G.K. Chesterton said, “Both men and women ought to face more fully the things they do or cause to be done; face them or leave off doing them.” Proverbs says, “whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsake them will obtain mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
Want to be more successful in 2016? Decide that “the buck stops here” and reject the blame game.