With the excitement of college football in the air, my mind often turns to some unforgettable words by one of the most famous college football coaches of all time: Paul “Bear” Bryant, head coach of Alabama, who led his teams to national championships in ’61, ’64 and ’65.
“I know how to win football games,” Bryant said. “If we win, the team won. If we lose, I take the blame.”
Bear’s forbearance under pressure would stop a lot of arguments, eliminate stress in fragile family relationships, brighten the mood of many marriages and restore scores of fractured friendships, but this winning football coach wasn’t the first to choose humility and accepting personal responsibility as the secrets of success.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and he will lift you up, wrote one of the New Testament penmen (James 4:10) and this kind of attitude enlists a power greater than our own in putting away pride and overcoming the temptation to blame others when things go wrong.
A woman once told me I had changed her marriage with one statement.
“What did I say that made this change?” I asked.
Her reply has been unforgettable.
“You said I might be asking if I’m getting everything out of our marriage I should be getting when that is not the question. You should be asking if your husband is getting everything out of your marriage he should be getting and he should be asking the same question concerning his responsibility to you.”
Responsibility and love are game and life changing words.
Imagine a marriage where neither party blames the other for whatever doesn’t measure up in their personal relationships.
Envision a quick makeup after every shakeup
Think of a loving apology ending in a doxology after each disagreement.
Expect harmony in your home or business because you’ve been the first to take responsibility for whatever has cooled warm relationships and hindered cooperation.
Are you tired of the blame game? Have you been bitter long enough? Are you finally ready to admit you’ve had a part in this destructive dissension? Then stop glaring and start caring.
Look back to an old rugged cross and see one who, though completely innocent, accepted the responsibility of providing redemption for those at fault for their problems and offered them forgiveness and love.
Standing at the rear of a church auditorium, I watched a congregation, now dismissed, lingering to talk, hug and forgive one another. One of the members joined me in my pleasant observing and said “They’re taking time to do what they should have done long ago.” These people had accepted their blame and won the most important game of all.
Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org