I’m part of a Friday morning Bible study led by Warren Morris. Warren is the former LSU player who hit the famous walk-off home run to win the 1996 College World Series.
He is a great teacher and leader. Most of all, Warren is one of the humblest men I know. From time to time, he’ll share a story about his college coach, Skip Bertman.
Recently, Warren shared one of Coach Bertman’s maxims. He called it T.O.B. and it stands for “Transfer of Blame.” This is the human tendency to always blame someone (or something) else for the failures, disappointments, and difficulties of our lives. You can go all the way back to the Garden to see Transfer of Blame: Adam: “The woman You gave me.”
Just because something is a human tendency doesn’t make it right. Transfer of Blame is a weakness that the mature person will seek valiantly to resist.
One of the most disturbing trends in today’s culture is the victim mentality. It’s the habit of always being the victim and not taking responsibility for things around us. T.O.B. is a bad habit some folks learn as a child and never leave behind. However, it is a habit that can be broken.
The flip side of transferring blame is to take personal responsibility. It’s the mature person’s way to react. It’s reflected in the maxim, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”
A story from the college career of quarterback Tim Tebow is worth telling. Tebow’s 2008 Florida Gators were upset in an early season loss to Ole Miss. At the postgame press conference, Tebow sat behind the microphone and said emotionally, “I’m sorry . . . I promise you one thing, a lot of good will come out of this. You have never seen any player in the entire country play as hard as I will for the rest of this season . . .”
Tebow’s half-minute speech is referred to as “The Promise.” It’s not surprising that Florida won its final eight games, resulting in the National Championship. “The Promise” is a shining example of taking responsibility and moving forward.
I’ve just finished a fascinating book called One Hundred and Forty Days until Hiroshima. It is a behind-the-scenes look at both the American and Japanese governments in the final months of World War II.
One of the central characters in the book is the new American president, Harry Truman. Facing many doubters, Truman reveals a strength of character and willingness to take personal responsibility when making difficult decisions. This is evidenced later by the famous sign on Truman’s desk: “The Buck Stops Here.”
Basically, our life choices run from “The Buck Stops Here” to “Transfer of Blame.” We’ll be wise to make the correct choice.