U.S. Soccer fans are upset and confused by the disappointing 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago last night. They are having a hard time believing the national team has been eliminated from the 2018 World Cup, and are trying to figure out how it happened.

The passionate conversation about this shocking elimination has led to finger-pointing and has placed blame on every aspect of U.S. Soccer.

Coaches Jurgen Klinsmann and Bruce Arena are being criticized for putting the team in this position…and key players like Tim Howard, Omar Gonzalez, and Jozy Altidore are taking the heat for not playing better.

Questions are being raised about the U.S. Soccer system as a whole, and why the country isn’t producing a higher level of talent to compete against the world – starting with the development of kids.

Although this is a big wake up call to the sport of American soccer, and will most likely result in major changes, I’m curious to see how those involved will shift the blame moving forward.

Any time things go wrong in sports or life, and expectations aren’t met, fingers are pointed. Even if we are at fault, we rarely own up to it. Instead, we make excuses that someone else is the reason for the problem.

The blame game goes something like this:

“I would have been on time, but I couldn’t get off the phone with the person I was talking to.”

“I wouldn’t have gotten angry if people knew how to drive.”

“I would go on a mission trip, but my job is too demanding.”

“I would read the Bible more, but I don’t have time.”

“I would be willing to donate money, if my boss paid me more.”

We all find our own ways to blame and place fault on others or something else. Unfortunately, this has been going on since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:11-14 (NLT) reveals a similar dialogue to the one above: “’Who told you that you were naked?’ the Lord God asked. ‘Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?’

“The man replied, ‘It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God asked the woman, ‘What have you done?’ ‘The serpent deceived me,’ she replied. ‘That’s why I ate it.’”

Today, instead of looking for someone or something to be our excuse for blowing it, let’s admit our mistakes and role in failure. God knows the truth anyway, so let’s embrace the freedom that comes from honesty and confession.

As we live in transparency and rely on God’s grace, let’s choose to confess, repent, and seek forgiveness from Him and those we let down.

1 John 1:9 (NLT) offers this encouragement: “But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, it’s easy for me to look for other people to blame when I’m at fault. I pray that You would help me own up to my mistakes and pursue forgiveness and repentance. I’m thankful for Your grace through Jesus. In His name I pray, Amen.