In Exodus 21-23 one of the clear themes in God giving the law to His people is that they were to be a people who took responsibility for their actions. Ch 21:14 states that a person who kills another as a premeditated act, must die. He must take responsibility for his action. Ch 21:29 states that if a man’s ox kills another man and the owner knew it was dangerous yet didn’t restrain it, the owner of the ox must be put to death. He must take responsibility for his negligence. Ch 22:6 states that if a man starts a fire and grain or a field is ignited by the fire and consumed, the man who started the fire must make restitution to the owner of the grain or field. He must take responsibility for what he started.
God’s people were to be a people characterized by taking responsibility for their actions and decisions. They were to be accountable.
I wonder if that’s true of God’s people today ? True of those of us who call ourselves Christians ?
Nowadays it seems one of the hardest things to do is to get people to take responsibility for their actions. The blame is always shifted so that it’s someone or something else’s fault, whether it be the person’s parents, spouse, the government or their upbringing !
We always want to put the blame somewhere else. This is no new phenomena, it was the second sin Adam & Eve committed. First they disobeyed God and then Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. This tendency affected us as a race early and we have had trouble shaking it off us ever since.
We must take responsibility. We must take ownership of our actions, decisions and their consequences. God taught this to his people right at the beginning of Him teaching them about Himself and His nature through the giving of the law.
Why does it matter ?
In taking responsibility for our actions we reflect God’s character, His integrity and truthfulness. We also keep the focus where the focus should be. If when we do wrong we shift the blame to someone or something else, we will never grow. We will never focus on rectifying, correcting or adjusting ourselves, so that our deviation away from healthy behaviour will become more and more pronounced, hurting us and those around us.
For everyone’s sake, take responsibility !