“The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
I used to have a love hate relationship with each organization that I was a part of. I struggled because each organization was filled with imperfections, broken systems, crazy personalities, and more. I loved being in the organizations because I was the smartest person in the organization. I knew how to fix the broken systems, how to speak with the difficult people, and how to help the group get unstuck, they just had to ask me. I say this somewhat sarcastically, but in fairness, I had a prideful sense of knowing more than others. In that moment I focused on the blame game, making a list of all the people, systems and structures that were at fault for the imperfections and struggles of the organization. Worse yet, I was pretty good at doing the same thing to people around me. I could see their struggles from a mile away, and if they would just ask me how I could help to fix them.
What God began to convict me of, was the pride so present in my actions. God also convicted me of my own role in all of it. What was my role and responsibility in the organization? What was my role in addressing, or improving the circumstances? And the hardest question God pushes me on, how am I a part of the problem, the struggle, and the very brokenness that I am blaming others for?
This is not a new struggle for humans. When Adam and Eve committed the first sin they waste no time saying that the responsibility was not theirs, but someone else’s. Adam blames Eve, Eve blames the serpent, and in each case the responsibility is theirs to own. A deep place of growth and personal transformation in my own life right now is from understanding and being clear what I am responsible for at church, as a pastor, as a husband, as a father. Not all things are my responsibility, but the answer to all things cannot be, it’s someone else’s fault. The challenge we each have is walking away from the immature response that we so often hear from children, “I didn’t do it.” Instead we have to take appropriate responsibility; seek reconciliation and forgiveness from God and others, and seek to live a life transformed by the Holy Spirit, to become a people of our word, and a people who take personal responsibility for our actions, our growth, and our faith.
Where is it hard for you to take responsibility? Where do you find yourself falling into the blame game most often? What messes in your life do you need to clean up, where you have neglected to take responsibility for yourself?