Personal Responsibility

When you hear the phrase, “Personal Responsibility,” what do you think? Do you think of it as taking responsibility for what you do, and not blaming others? This is good, but I want you to think of it another way.

Personal responsibility is a limiting factor. You are only responsible for what you do. You have no control over anyone else. You can influence them, but you are not responsible for their actions. Even if they are put under your charge, and you order them to do something, they are still responsible for their response (as you are for the order).

Why do I think this is important? It comes down to how we react to the world around us. We are not responsible for the state of the world. We are only responsible for our reaction to it. If someone does something wrong to you, what is your response? Does it really matter what they have done?

I talked about complaining before. It definitely relates here. Complaining is evil, in all of its forms. Complaining is trying to take control over, and responsibility for things that are completely out of your control. We must learn to accept what is not our responsibility, then choose a righteous response.

Who are you? Who are you going to be? The only person that matters in that question is you. Do what is right. Do not complain. Do not judge. The other person(s) are not your concern.

You alone are responsible for yourself, and you are responsible for yourself alone.

(This by the way can wrap up for me the whole Politics thread I was writing a long time ago.)

Suffer the little children

Mark 10:14-15 is a fairly well known portion of scripture. Leaving the old usage of “suffer” as an argument for another time, Jesus, of course, means “let,” or “permit” the children to come to Him. I used to be concerned about being more childlike in order to come into His kingdom.

What does it mean to be childlike? That is a question I have mulled over quite a bit having two small children of my own. It does not take a long time to get to know a child. They tell you exactly what they are thinking. They act out everything they are feeling. Everything is on display, nothing is hidden or false.

About a year ago I wrote about being a parent and how much it teaches us about how God sees us. So the more I see a child up close and personal, you know what I have learned? We are all children. We never grow up. We just learn to hide our childishness better.

“I am not a child,” you say. But I would have to say you really are. You have just learned to not verbalize the childlike things that immediately occur to you. You have a mature mental filter, but the exact same thoughts run through your head. The next time you find out bad news, notice your inner voice. You hear the same “Awwww,” that comes from a 3 year old. You want to slump down like one of those giraffe push up toys, but you resist. We never grow up, we just get better at hiding it.

So one interpretation of Mark 10:14-15 is that we should not be fakers. Jesus wants us to accept Him completely, and to treat others with sincerity.