Articles

Articles

I Am Responsible

I don’t know if it is “human nature,” but when things go wrong we often seek someone or something to blame. Does it make us feel better to view ourselves as victims? Is it from a sense of justice or from a desire for vengeance that we want to see someone punished? I suspect that in some cases it is simply an expression of frustration.

The word blame is just a shortened version of the word blaspheme. It is an interesting connection. To blame is to hold responsible for, but since it often includes the idea of finding fault, it is blaspheming or speaking evil.

In our current circumstances, it is surely no surprise that blame is being knocked back and forth like a ping pong ball. While some may be sincerely trying to find ways to be better prepared, others are merely acting from self-interest.

We need to beware of the blame game. It can give us a false sense of innocence. The Bible is clear that each of us is responsible before God for our conduct.

When God confronted Adam about his sin, Adam blamed Eve: “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). Eve, in turn, blamed the serpent: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (v. 13). Both those statements were true: Eve contributed to Adam’s disobedience, and the serpent’s lie led to Eve’s sin. But none of that alleviated responsibility. Adam was punished, and so was Eve (and so was the serpent!).

The prophet Ezekiel lived in days when the nation of Judah was being taken captive by the Babylonians as punishment for their sins. The people of Judah blamed their plight (either their punishment or their conduct or both) on their fathers. A popular proverb expressed their thinking: “The fathers eat the sour grapes, but the children’s teeth are set on edge.”

God said through Ezekiel that He wanted to hear that no more. Every person is responsible before Him. “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20).

The New Testament teaches the same truth. “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Let’s learn to say, “I am responsible.”

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