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Saturday, 31 October 2009

Responsibility?

One of the news items this week concerned the case of Dr Stuart McNee. Dr McNee would probably have gone through life without being known to anyone outwith his family circle, friends and colleagues. However, he was the doctor responsible for the nineteen overdoses of radiation received by sixteen-year-old Lisa Norris, and from which she subsequently died just over three years ago. Dr McNee, after an enquiry by a panel from the Health Professions Council, was found to have shown a lack of competence in Lisa’s treatment – but was allowed to keep his job!

Of course, responsibility and accountability are words, and concepts, that appear to be rapidly disappearing from our culture. Too many Members of Parliament – in both Westminster and Brussels – have been acting in ways that, for most of the rest of us, would be considered fraudulent, and would result in criminal charges being brought against us but, because it is claimed that what was done was “within the [made by us, for us] rules”, no such action is taken. Bankers, who appear to have been responsible for the current recession, are already talking of paying themselves bonuses at a level of which ordinary mortals could do no more than dream – even ’though it was the taxes of such ordinary mortals that allowed their banks to continue, and secured their highly-paid jobs! And don’t get me started on parents! Not all parents, of course. However, there are far too many children getting away with everything from nuisance behaviour, to criminal activity, to promiscuity – with either the tacit approval of their parent(s), or their complete ignorance. Such parents seem to have abrogated all parental responsibility.

Of course, the Bible shows that personal responsibility has been evaded since the very beginning. When the Lord God questioned our first parents with regard to their having disobeyed His clear instruction, Adam blamed both Eve, and God Himself (“… the woman You gave me …”), and Eve blamed the serpent! (Gen.3:12 ff). Many centuries later, king David tried to get out of his situation with Bathsheba and her pregnancy by having her husband, Uriah, brought back from the battle-field in the hope that Uriah would sleep with his wife and then accept that the child was his own. And, in one of the greatest abrogations of personal responsibility in the whole of Scripture, the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate “washed his hands” and claimed that it was the mob who were now responsible for the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. (Matt.27:22-26).

Each of us will, eventually, have to accept responsibility for our own lives. Those who have not accepted the salvation that the Christ gained for us, at the cost of His own blood, will stand before the “great white throne” (Rev.20:11 ff) and, having no excuse, will be consigned to eternal separation from the Lord. Even those of us who have claimed His righteousness as our own, will stand before the judgement seat of Christ, there to accept responsibility for our actions as professed believers (Rom.14:10 ff; I Cor.3:10 ff).

May all who read these words accept responsibility for their own lives now, that they may enjoy eternity in the Lord’s presence.

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