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Friday, 2 July 2010

Personal responsibility

A long time ago, I prepared a school assembly message based on the character "nae-me". This person is probably a very Scottish person - predominantly, West of Scotland - but is responsible for most of the trouble in any school in the country. I know this because, invariably, when a pupil was asked who was responsible for some unacceptable action, the answer was "It wisnae me"! (Speaking it out, slowly, rather than merely reading it, may help to make the point for those who are unfamiliar with the vernacular!). It's always somebody else's fault; it's always somebody else who should 'do something about it'; it's always somebody else who should have foreseen the inevitable consequences.

Over recent days, I have become more aware than usual of this 'blame culture' through various news reports. Under-age pregnancy; criminal activity; being knocked out of a particular soccer competition. It's never 'my' fault.

It's not a new syndrome! At the very beginning of humanity, we read that the one restriction that Almighty God had placed upon the pinnacle of His creation was that man must not eat of "...
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die." (Gen 2:17). However, within a very short time, and in spite of the consequence having been clearly spelled out, mankind had disobeyed the Lord, and partaken of the forbidden fruit.

However, it is mankind's response when challenged by God, that is interesting - "... YHWH Elohim 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."" (Gen 3:11-13)

And, of course, man has been making excuses for his behaviour ever since - so much so that it is actually refreshing when someone 'owns up', and accepts the just reward for their action(s).

This whole situation is, of course, the reason why Paul could write, without fear of contradiction, that "... everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." (Rom 3:23). And that's the reason why each of us need a Saviour - One Who, by living a sinless life, can take upon Himself the punishment that I deserve.

That One is Jesus Who, as God, was able to live a sinless life and, as man, was able to represent me, and you. The responsibility for my sin remains with me but, as I am willing to confess that sin - and not seek to blame others; and as I ask forHis life-giving help; then I have His promise that "... the blood of Jesus ... cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7).

Of course, I still have the responsibility of responding, positively, to His sacrifice on my behalf. If I respond negatively - by either rejecting, or ignoring, it - I will bear my own punishment. That punishment is eternity (timelessness) separated from Him - and knowing that it is my fault: that "It wis me!"

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