Responsibility

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:1-3).
Dan Stokes, of Paragould, Arkansas, was working on a campaign in Springlands, Guyana when he saw a local Hindu lady come running out of her home onto the main road carrying a snake on her broom. She threw the snake onto the road surface and a crowd (made up of more Hindus) quickly gathered. With sticks and brooms they prodded the snake, keeping it in the road. As traffic neared they would draw back to let the cars by. None of the people injured the snake, but they would not allow it to escape. The first several cars saw it, and swerved to avoid it. Finally a taxi came, driven by someone of another religion. The driver saw the situation, took aim and drove over the snake, killing it. The crowd quickly dispersed. The job was done, the snake disposed of, BUT NONE OF THEM HAD KILLED IT. Their consciences were clean; the requirements of their religion fulfilled.
Does that remind us of certain Biblical characters? Perhaps Adam who said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree …” (Genesis 3:12). Or Cain who asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). People are often very good at finding ways to excuse their actions, absolving themselves of responsibility when sin results.
David’s frank acknowledgment of his sin, and his sincere repentance, stand in sharp contrast to those instances cited above. David knew what he had done, and he knew who was responsible. No excuses. No blame. David did not say, “the woman had no business bathing in plain view.” He did not say, “Uriah should have kept his wife under better control.” No he simply said, “I did it; I have sinned; I am guilty.” Such is the nature of true repentance. That attitude prepares us for real change in our lives, and it enables God to practice true forgiveness.
One of the most important doctrines found in Christianity is the doctrine of individual responsibility before God. Every human being has God-given freedom of choice. We all are accountable to God for the choices we make.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
There will be no shifting of the blame in judgment ?- no excuses! We all must answer to God for every word, deed and thought done on this earth. We all have access to the knowledge of his will. We all have opportunity for redemption in Christ. We all are responsible.

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Michael Brooks

Since 1988 Mike and his wife Brenda have been involved in foreign missions in South America, Africa, and South Asia. Beginning in 1999 they devoted full time to missions, primarily in Bangladesh and Nepal.

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