Taking Responsibility

by Scott Huckaby

It is not our imagination, our society is degenerating. Blaming the government on the problem and expecting them to fix it will not turn things around. What it will take is for more people to realize the truth about human nature and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation.

Society's decay

We have recently heard the "good news" that crime has decreased since last year but this is not the long-term trend. Society's architects don't want to admit this is an anomaly and address the trend since 1960 where all social indictors show there is a problem. Illegitimate births, divorces and teen suicides shadow the increasing crime rate. The prospects for turning crime rates around are even bleaker since crimes committed by youth were not reduced from last year and are growing dramatically.

Another indicator of rot in our society is the messed-up judicial system. We have never had the number of ridiculous judgments and frivolous law-suits that we see today. The O.J. Simpson trial and the case where a jury awarded a woman almost $3M for spilling hot McDonalds coffee on herself are just two examples.

More and more people are beginning to question the path our nation is taking. We have seen the 1994 elections switch Congress from a Democrat to a Republican majority in both houses. This was not so much a vote for Republicans as it was a vote against the direction we're headed. People are anxious to do something about society's problems.

The root cause of society's problems

Before a problem can be fixed, it is necessary to know its root cause. The problems with our judicial system, for example, is just a symptom of a more serious issue: society teaches us we don't have to take responsibility for our own bad choices. This makes everyone a victim of something beyond their control: poverty, or bad education, or even poor toilet training. The root problem with our society is really a spiritual one where people deny God's authority in their lives.

The problems in our judicial system go all the way back to Genesis. It began when Adam and Eve disobeyed God then denied responsibility. Adam blamed "the woman You gave to be with me" and Eve blamed it on Satan (Genesis 3:12-13).

The world system Satan established is one where there is no concept of sin. Thus society falsely believes that human nature is basically good. What then is a person to do if they don't know that their sin is the cause for their bad choices? They think it can't be their fault, so they convince themselves their problems must be due to someone or something else.

However, God's Word says it is really our nature to be bad, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Only trusting in Jesus Christ can keep us from the penalty that comes from our sin nature (Romans 6:23).

Our society has embraced Satan's world system and institutionalized the rejection of God. The reason people blame others for their problems is due to their poor spiritual condition. When people are unwilling to take responsibility for problems they bring on themselves, they either do not know or deny that God is Almighty and is in control of all things which means all consequences have a purpose.

God's Plan of Personal Responsibility

God wants us to take responsibility in our lives. An important concept to meditate on is our being created in God's image (Genesis 1:27). One aspect of this is that God has given us a free will. We have the choice to accept or reject a relationship with Him. What kind of a relationship would God have with us if He forced us to have a relationship with Him? It would be like us having a relationship with a computer that we programmed, it's not the same.

God fore-knew us before we were created so He knows what choices we would make. But this does not take away our personal responsibility to make the right choices. God said that each of us should take responsibility for our lives in Ezekiel 18:20, "The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself."

The blame game is not limited to other people and things. Some blame God for their plight. Fatalists believe that if they are headed to hell, it is God who is responsible. It is true we will be judged by God but where we spend eternity is our choice while we're in this world. Jesus said, "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:37)

Paul taught that we should take responsibility for our own decisions in Galatians 6 where it is summed up in verse 5, "For each one shall bear his own load." The process of rejecting God's authority is a personal decision. Romans 1 says that God has revealed Himself to all men through His creation. This applies to all people on earth, even aborigines who live in trees on New Guinea. So when people reject God, "they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened" (Romans 1:20-21).

Jesus said in Matthew 10:38, "he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me". Jesus is the second person of the Trinity and did not have to take up His cross. It was His choice to die in our place so that our sins may be forgiven. But death could not hold Jesus in the grave and God the Father resurrected Him into a new body that is the prototype for the one all born again Christians will have when Jesus returns (1 John 3:2).

Certainly the most important choice we can make in life is to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. God's Word makes it clear that salvation is a matter of personal choice. In light of what we see happening in society today, we know it can not be long before Christ returns. There will come a time when the opportunities God gives you to commit yourself to Jesus will end. If you have not done so already, you can and should ask Jesus to come into your life right now. Paul said, "now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).