Blame Transference Syndrome
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"
He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
The man said, "The woman you put here with me -- she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."
Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"
The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
-- Genesis 3:8-13
Adam blames Eve. Eve blames the serpent.
My college religion professor -- the late, great Princeton-educated pastor, Dr. M.B. Jackson -- called this phenomenon Blame Transference Syndrome. Dr. Jackson said that not only have we inherited a bondage to sin from our first parents, we also inherited misplacing the blame from them. The syndrome which prompts us to fault everyone but ourselves for our sin gets passed on in the cancer of original sin.
We see this everywhere today. On talk shows and in tell-alls, in pop psychology and in politics. Our therapeutic culture has us blaming parents, kids, bullies, even past lives for sin that is our own.
There is no doubt that our pasts and upbringings contribute to the people we become, even to the things we end up doing. But all have sinned. And our sin is our own. Your "baggage" might have been handed to you, but your sin came hardwired.
This is why the first step to repentance is not acknowledging that some offense was caused. It's not the whole "Mistakes were made" vagueness. It's not the "If I hurt you . . ." rhetorical dance. That's Blame Transference Syndrome kicking in.
The first step in repentance is acknowledging one's sin, acknowledging the sin as sin. It is owning up, not passing the buck. It is specific and it is resolute, not vague and generally apologetic.
Nobody gets clean till everybody comes clean.