One of the saddest realities in our society is that many people do not take responsibility for their actions. Both in the newspaper as well as on television, reports come nearly every day on people who walk away from their home mortgage with no thought of ever repaying their debt. Along with this problem, many of these same people also abandon their pets. Somehow, it is some other person's fault not theirs. Certainly, we are in economic hard times, but the problem is somehow deeper than this alone. I often wonder if these folks ever stopped and took a long look at their finances, savings, and present income prior to making such a huge commitment.
This is not the only problem, though. There are many people who want a job, but then, when they get a position, they do not come to work. They take advantage of their employer by calling in sick frequently or quitting without adequate notice. Whatever happened to the work ethic? Why are so many in our society blaming parents, their environment, their job, or who knows what other excuse rather than accepting responsibility for their actions?
Because we are born with a sin nature, our focus in life is very self-centered. This is the crux of the problem. As my husband frequently reminds me, it all started in the Garden. Satan tempted Eve. Eve ate the fruit and gave it to Adam who also ate in direct violation of God's command to them. Eve blamed the serpent and Adam blamed the woman whom God had given to Him...so indirectly, Adam accused God of creating the whole mess. This was the first lesson in "passing the buck."
In the book of I Samuel chapter 28, another example can be seen. King Saul was in a bind. The prophet Samuel had died, and Saul was facing a show down with the Philistines. The king had wisely sent all the mediums and necromancers out of the Kingdom of Israel as the Lord had commanded Him. However, now Saul was in need of a word from the Lord concerning the battle that lay ahead. Verses 5-6 read: "When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets." Instead of waiting to hear from God, Saul decided to take matters into his own hands. He called upon a medium and promised nothing would happen to her if she would call up the spirit of Samuel. As she did this, the Lord allowed Samuel to appear to Saul. We can tell from the Scripture that this was not just an apparition but the prophet himself as the woman was shaken by the experience. Immediately, Saul began making up reasons why it was necessary to use a medium to call up Samuel when he said: "....I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me, and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do" (vs. 15 b). What Saul did was a sin. He felt he was justified in what he had done because, after all, he was in a tight spot. However, Samuel reminded the king of what he had told him before that due to his disobedience God was tearing the kingdom from his hand. Furthermore, he told Saul that he and his sons would die. Everything happened just as Samuel said it would. There were consequences that followed Saul's actions of disobedience.
A lesson can be learned from this tragic recounting of Saul's life and death. He was exalted above his fellow Israelites and given the responsibility to rule wisely under God's authority. At first, Saul followed the Lord, but then, he began to take matters into his own hands. He became jealous of David and drove him out. He sacrificed a burnt offering to the Lord because Samuel delayed in coming in a timely manner. This was a direct violation of the Law. Then, finally, he consulted a medium. He had excuses for all these actions, but he never truly repented of his sin. As a result, he paid the consequences.
Sin is a hard task master. When we choose to follow our own desires, we will pay a price. We may think it is a good thing to skip out on a debt, leave a difficult marriage, or steal goods from our employer. All the reasons we think up sound good to us too, but they will lead ultimately to the judgement of God. If not in this life, then, we will face it in the life to come. There has never been anyone who has not faced the consequences of his/her actions.
God has a higher standard for the believer. We are to follow His commandments and accept responsibility when we sin. He offers us forgiveness when we come to Him and confess our wrong doing (I John 1:9). Our lives are to be a reflection of His glory and to do less than to fulfill our commitments in this life is to diminish the name of Christ in this world. Times are challenging right now. Jobs are scarce. However, our God is our provider. We must remember that. He calls us to be good stewards of what we do have. As Christians, let us make certain that we take responsibility in our family, our work, our church and our community. If we put God first in our lives, He will take care of us and meet our needs. There are no shortcuts to holy living! Selah!
What are your thoughts on taking responsibility? I appreciate the things you share. I hope you will leave your comments here.