Responsibility and Hope
Whenever we face problems, it’s easier to blame others than take responsibility for them ourselves. And because blaming someone or something other than ourselves is so much easier, this is exactly what people often do.
Blaming our circumstances or someone close to us is appealing because it gives us cover for our failings. But doing so takes away hope for any change for the better.
The tendency to refuse responsibility for problems and shift the blame on others goes all the way back to the garden of Eden. After the first man and woman ate the forbidden fruit, Adam blamed his wife, and Eve blamed the serpent.
Although Adam and Eve portrayed themselves as victims, they were filled with shame and hid themselves from God. If it were not for God’s pursuit of them, they would have remained in this hopeless state of shame. But God confronted them with the truth, and brought them mercy so they could move forward with their lives.
The blame-shifting approach modeled by Adam and Eve is practiced daily as people face their own personal difficulties. It is far more common for people to explain away their wrong behavior than own it themselves.
The result? Multitudes spend their days stuck in hopelessness and shame.
This problem is reinforced in that society discourages personal responsibility and encourages blame-shifting in various ways. It used to be, for example, if someone had a drinking problem he’d be called a drunkard and exhorted to change his ways. Today, someone with a drinking problem is said to have a disease and is urged to get treatment.
This sort of approach is intended to be caring as it tends to soften the blow on the person who is afflicted. But the net effect is that it takes away hope.
If a person comes to think that his problem is totally outside of his control – as though it were innocently contracted like some disease – it will not be long before he believes that there is nothing he can do about his problem and that he will be locked to it forever.
But the truth is that we do have a personal responsibility when it comes to the difficulties we face. That can be sobering to face because it will connect some of our problems to our own foolish actions. The good news, though, is that we can begin to think and act in ways that lead us in a new direction .
Realizing this in itself gives hope for change and a better way of life.
Hope does not come by denying our responsibility. Hope does not come by suppressing the truth we know deep down in our hearts.
Hope comes when we accept that sometimes we are in the mess we are in because of our own sinful or stupid actions. Hope comes when we embrace personal responsibility and take steps to live in the way we know God wants us to.
Are you facing some hardship that you have brought on yourself? Don’t evade your responsibility, but accept it fully. Seek the forgiveness of God and others where needed, and begin by His grace to make the changes you know you must make.
By taking responsibility in this way you will find hope.