Taking responsibility

“Nathan then said to David, ‘You are the man!’” (2 Samuel 12:7 NASB).

I suspect that I am not alone in my distaste for the blame game being played between various countries and even the different political parties within our own nation for the existence, spread, and extent of the Corona Virus pandemic. Perhaps never has there been greater need for cooperation in battling this new disease for which there is at present neither preventative vaccine nor proven cure. Countries and agencies around the world are competing for vital medicines and equipment which is in dangerously short supply. Yet many seem to be more interested in blaming others than in working for a common cause.

Please note that I am not arguing that culpability does not exist and that in many (most?) cases it is vital that the source of problems be identified and corrective measures taken. If someone commits criminal (or sinful) actions, those should be identified and justice sought. Taking ownership of guilt is a necessary step to solving problems, including restoring the guilty party to a righteous condition. But blaming someone else for the political advantage one might gain is a much different situation.

Possibly no better example of guilt and restoration exists than that of David the mighty King of Israel. At the height of his powers he committed a double sin of adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11). He certainly had the means available to conceal his guilt, or to shift responsibility to others. Yet he did not. Confronted by God’s messenger, the prophet Nathan, David accepted the pointed finger – he was the man and well did he know it.

Observe how David reacted:

  • He accepted God’s judgment without attempting to deny it or blame others. He took ownership of his crimes (2 Samuel 12:13; Psalm 51:1-4; 32:5).
  • He genuinely repented and accepted the punishment which God ordained (2 Samuel 12:16-23; Psalm 51:5-9).
  • He sought to correct his behavior and those attitudes and characteristics which caused it (Psalm 51:10-17).
  • He committed to righteous conduct in the future (Psalm 51:18-19).

David knew that his flaws were his alone. No one else was to blame. He also understood that he could best correct that for which he was responsible. Rather than blaming others, he focused on what he could and should do.

This present crisis, as well as many other world problems, might be much more quickly resolved if more of us would focus on our own responsibilities and opportunities and do whatever we can do. If guilt and blame exists, there may be time later for that to be evaluated and dealt with. But for now, let us take ownership of that which belongs to us and correct our own mistakes. Cooperation is far more productive than divisive accusations.

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