We all live as a part of different institutions. Families, schools, offices, factories, churches, social clubs are all institutions of one flavour or another. It is interesting to ponder upon what sort of culture pertains in the institutions I am a part of. This can be looked at in different ways, but one way which is quite reflective of the state of the institution is to consider whether there is a culture of blame or culture of apologising.
Things go wrong in all institutions but what is the default response when there is failure. The initial response is either to seek out who can be blamed for what has gone wrong or to seek to apologise for any part I have played in the failure. A blame culture produces a negative interaction between people and destroys morale. Whereas an apologising culture creates a sense of warmth and generosity among the people.
You can spot it in a marriage. Ponder upon how you respond when something happens between you and your spouse. Do you rush to blame or apologise? If something spills over on the cooker do you seek to blame your spouse for letting it happen or do you apologise for disturbing him/her by taking them unnecessarily out of the kitchen. You see it in a football match. When a pass is misplaced does the person apologise for mis-directing it or blame the other person for not running in the right direction?
When you perceive that a blame culture has taken hold in an institution then all does not augur well. The prospect is for a broken marriage, a fractious office, an unhappy church and an unsuccessful sports team. Whereas the reverse is very much the case when you have an apologising culture; then you will see strong marriages, healthy families and churches that are so keen to move forward well.
It is interesting to observe that the tendency to a blame culture set in right at the beginning of the history of fallen humanity where the man blamed the women and the woman blamed the serpent (see Gen. 3:12). The blame culture is the culture of the world. An apologising culture is a culture of grace. It is a culture of taking the lowly place. Through it we realise we are sinners with a capacity to do wrong and sadly we really do, do wrong. And when we know we have done wrong we apologise.
So what kind of culture am I contributing to in the institutions of which I am a part?