When one of my children was a tot and learning to play ball (the plastic bat and waffle-ball variety) I was doing the pitching. I can remember my frustration when every pitch was in the right place but he still missed time after time. I finally stopped and asked, “Why can’t you hit the ball?” His reply demonstrated that he had been feeling the same frustration. He shot back: “Because you’re not throwing the ball where the bat is!”
Why is it we have such difficulty taking responsibility for our own actions? Certainly it has something to do with heredity. Our first parents demonstrated that evasive technique when the Lord asked them if they had disobeyed Him and eaten the forbidden fruit. Adam replied, “The woman you put here...she gave it to me!” When He asked the same question of Eve, she likewise insisted, “The Serpent deceived me…!” By the time He got to the serpent there was no one left to blame. Maybe that is why the Bible calls the Serpent (or Satan) the “Accuser.” He has been trying to put the blame back on us ever since.
Whenever I ask the question in a group study “What are some indicators of maturity?”
someone invariably (and rightly) responds, “When we learn to accept responsibility for our own actions.” Our entire society is shot through with people who are avoiding responsibility and others who are willing to let them. “It’s not my fault, I was temporarily insane!” Or, “It’s not her fault, she comes from an abusive family!” But if any of us is to have any kind of a relationship with a holy God he must learn to say often “Forgive me, I have sinned!” Some people have difficulty understanding why God referred to King David as “a man after my own heart” when he was guilty of adultery and murder. I think one answer lies in this fact: when he was confronted with his sin he didn’t make excuses, but admitted “I have sinned against the Lord.” The Bible informs us that we have reached a turning point when we are willing to “repent” (a good word, but don’t count on public comprehension of it. It has been out of popular vocabulary for years). Repentance provides the road back, the road to peace and forgiveness and fulfillment—in short, the road to God. It’s a road you and I need to spend a great deal of time on.
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship