What Happened To Personal Responsibility?

There seems to be a trend developing in our culture these days which I’m hoping people will see through for what it is. I can’t keep up with all the causes that make their way to our society. Most are legitimate and worthy of attention. However, I believe that others are merely man-made diversions from personal responsibility.

Just last week, we learned that there is a watchdog group out to rid our world of the scourge called Ronald McDonald. Why? Because they feel he is personally responsible for child obesity. I remember Ronald McDonald when I was a kid, and I can assure you he had nothing to do with my McInterest in McFood of any McKind. My parents were definitely the biggest influence on my diet as a kid. Not a TV clown. The next thing you know, the guy with the giant ping pong ball for a head with the yellow cone hat will be the target. What about the cartoon leprechaun who wants you to buy his marshmallow laden breakfast cereal? I grew up watching the Three Stooges, and never once poked any of my friends in the eyes or dragged a handsaw across their scalp.

Then you have serial philanderers Tiger Woods and Jesse James. The extramarital exploits of these men have made the headlines over the past few months. Sure, each of them issued their own public apologies accepting the blame for their troubles and the anguish they caused their loved ones. But they did so practically on the steps of their respective rehab centers for sexual addiction. On one hand, they accept responsibility, on the other, they’re victims of a disease.

Rather than blame a cartoon character, and rather than waiting to take steps to overcome our foibles until after we’re caught, we have become a culture seeking scapegoats for bad behavior. In doing so, we circumvent personal responsibility.

At the root of all this is sin. The bible says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Some of you old fogies like me may remember the comedian Flip Wilson. One of his most famous characters he created for his self-titled variety show in the 70s was Geraldine Jones. Her famous catch phrase was, “the devil made me do it.” This tactic of blameshifting is nothing new. In fact, it dates back to the first humans. In Genesis 3:12, when confronted by God as to why he ate of the forbidden fruit, Adam not only blamed Eve, but blamed God himself! “The woman you put here with me…”

It is time we own up to our responsibilities. If you don’t want your kids to eat themselves into obesity, “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6. If you have moral weaknesses which will blow up your life and family, fix it now! You don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in a trendy rehab center. Get on your knees before God. Humble yourself. Surrender yourself to Him. Hunger for the things of God so that your hunger for the things of the flesh will be overwhelmed. If you’re not already part of a good church, find one today. If you need help finding one in your area, feel free to contact me and I’ll personally help you.

We are all sinners. This isn’t about blame. This isn’t about excusing our behavior by creating a disorder to mask our sin. This is about admitting that as humans, we are weak and vulnerable. But if we tap into the power, mercy and grace of God, there is nothing we can’t do! (Philippians 4:13)

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