“To throw (someone) under the bus” is an idiomatic phrase in American English meaning to sacrifice a friend or ally for selfish reasons. It is typically used to describe a self-defensive disavowal and severance of a previously-friendly relationship when the relation becomes controversial or unpopular.
I am writing this post because I am thoroughly exhausted. I tend be the friend who gets thrown under the bus. I’m trying to figure out why this is. And it seems to be that it’s not through any weakness of my own, but my ability to recover from it. I guess my associates think I’m strong enough to handle it. I tend to be the convenient scapegoat, especially in some of the places where I’ve previously worked and even places where I have served in ministry. I am outspoken-although understandably less so lately, hence the post. I have a great work ethic, I’m dedicated to the vision of the team and almost painfully loyal. But if an adjustment needs to be made or someone needs to “take the high road” in the midst of adversity, I am expected to be the one to sacrifice my comfort level and do so with a smile.
Because this has happened in all aspects of my life, I’m trying to understand how this helps me in my faith-walk because it is truly frustrating and exhausting. It’s not that I’m not usually able to do what is required, but that I am consistently expected to do it without regard for the fact that I may simply not be emotionally or physically able to carry more weight at the time. In addition, the very people that I am protecting from consequences are the ones who complain and whine all the time about the same tasks that I am expected to carry out daily simply because I am consistent and do those tasks without (much) complaint.
And those complaining folks always seem to get their way. I never understood that part.
Now some of you reading this know exactly what I mean.
Look at the definition of scapegoat below. Notice the both definitions:
noun: scapegoat; plural noun: scapegoats
- a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency.
- (in the Bible) a goat sent into the wilderness after the Jewish chief priest had symbolically laid the sins of the people upon it (Lev. 16).
Definition 1 is the worldly definition. That is the one that we have all felt like at one time or another. See the second part of the definition. Especially for reasons of expediency. This is why it is so easy and seemingly necessary for people to be used as scapegoats. A quick solution to a problem is needed, and usually the problem involves placing or diverting blame.
Definition 2 is the spiritual definition. Once the priest laid the sins of the people on the scapegoat, it was sent into the wilderness to die. The people had no means of making complete restitution for their sins themselves, so they laid them on an animal that had nothing to do with what they had done and ran it off.
So now what? What does a Christian do when being a scapegoat is not what they signed up for?
Well, it seems that we did sign up for it boys and girls.
You see, Definition 2 was out of the Old Testament. Scapegoats were used before Christ laid his life down as the Lamb of God. Christ served as our scapegoat. We lay our sins at the cross because of the sacrifice He made. Once we do this, we don’t have to face our sins anymore. Sure, there are consequences to those sins, but even though we are convicted, we are not condemned. Because Christ Himself was blameless, He made the perfect sacrifice. The unblemished Lamb of God.
1 Peter 4:13New International Version (NIV)
13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
2 Corinthians 1:5New International Version (NIV)
5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
So yes, as we become examples of Christ to the world, sometimes we must share in His sufferings to be an example of His loving sacrifice. It is not meant to be fair. It is meant to be an example of righteousness.
Now I don’t feel so bad about being a minor scapegoat, or having a few brushes with that notorious bus that we have all felt at one time or another. Let’s handle it with grace and thank the Lord that we have the strength to carry on.
Doesn’t mean that tread doesn’t burn a bit…