Thursday, November 18, 2010


It is completely appropriate to ask why we do the things that we do. Why do I so often respond with anger? Am I following an influential person's example? Maybe. Am I reacting against some kind of offense or injury? That may be. Is it because I want to be God, to be the center of my world, and therefore I expect all persons and things to bend their will to mine? Ouch.
You see, asking why is not wrong, so long as my explanation does not explain away my own responsibility. If a parent or teacher was a bad example, shame on them. But I am still responsible for my own angry outbursts or sullen attitudes.
Now let's think carefully. There is a distinction between scope of responsibility and depth of responsibility. And we make mistakes with both. I am not responsible for the behavior of bad examples. I am responsible for whether or not I follow those examples. I cannot take responsibility for the actions of others. I must take responsibility for my own actions. That is the scope of responsibility - I am responsible for me, and will be held responsible for me.
That brings us to depth of responsibility. To whom are we responsible? Ultimately, the answer is God, and we have a regular tendency to understate our responsibility to Him. He is our Creator and Redeemer. We owe Him gratefulness and service. We owe Him worship and obedience. Every failure to do so with each element of our being is a breakdown of our responsibility. And we will be held accountable.
This is why the previous article on God-justification is so important. The scope of my responsibility for all of my actions and attitudes is heavy, and all my past failures give me no indication that I will be blameless in the future. But then add in the depth of our responsibility to God, and we find that we have no hope except that God justifies the ungodly.

No comments: