Man Up (Or Woman Up, If That’s the Case)
What started with “the dog ate my homework” has morphed into some insane refusal for many to take responsibility. If a child receives a low grade at school it is not the child’s fault, but rather the teacher’s. If a young person acts up on a youth trip it is not the teen’s fault, but rather the youth leader. If an employee receives a pink slip for not doing his or her job it’s not the employee’s fault, but rather the mean employer. Or if a driver receives a ticket for reckless driving because he or she was texting while driving, it is not their fault, but rather the mean police officer who was trying to reach his or her “quota.”
Take a minute and listen—really listen—to people today. People shun responsibility like the plague. Don’t believe me? Shadow a parent for one day and listen to how many times the parent will stand up for his or her child, even if the child is blatantly at fault. It is almost sickening at how often (and how easy) we shirk responsibility and instead throw someone else under the bus.
Sadly, even Christians have embraced this worldly mentality. Surely their precious “angels” could not have done anything wrong. And certainly mom and dad are not to blame for anything. Thus the child grows up believing that the way to handle a problem is to blame someone else.
Imagine if Jonah refused to take responsibility. The seas were stormy and the men feared for their lives. The men had cast lots to determine who was at fault and it fell to Jonah. Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” (Jonah 1:8). They continued on by asking why he had done this? A modern-day Jonah would blame God for the storm. Or he would look for fault in the mariners. Or he might even go so far as to blame the ship builder for not building a sturdier boat that could withstand fierce storms.
However, Jonah took responsibility: “And he said to them, ‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me’” (Jonah 1:12).
While many have become professional at deflecting blame or shifting attention to someone else, their tactics will not work with God. Paul wrote, “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10-12, emp. added). On that great day it will not be the teacher’s fault, the youth leader’s fault, or the employer’s fault. Rather, the Righteous Judge of the World, who knows all, will judge each according to his or her deeds.
Accepting blame means humbling yourself. It means recognizing you have many imperfections. It means, “manning” up even in a culture that loves to blame everyone else. And while this may leave a bitter taste in the mouths of those who have perfected the art of blaming others, this is also one of the first steps in acknowledging you are a sinful creature in need of the blood of Christ.
A life of blaming others feeds a haughty spirit and causes us to not fully appreciate what Christ did for us on the cross. Commenting on this beautiful gift Paul wrote, For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Can you imagine if Jesus had hung on the cross blaming you and me for each one of our sins? Instead, He shouldered our sin and gave us an example.
Responsibility is a hard lesson for many to learn. But better to teach our children responsibility on earth than to have their world rocked in heaven when they try—unsuccessfully—to shift responsibility on the Day of Judgment.
Be honest and ask yourself:
Whose responsibility is it to train up your children?
Whose responsibility is it to go teach the lost?
Whose responsibility is it to work heartily, as for the Lord?
Whose responsibility is it to care for the widows and orphans?
Whose responsibility is it to care for widowed parents?
Isn’t it time we, as Christians, set a different pattern than the world? Isn’t it time we take responsibility?