On Taking Responsibility

Spring semester is waning. Projects are coming due. Procrastinators are not yet panicking; that will happen in about ten more days.  Last evening I made an impassioned appeal for my undergrads to PLEASE get their assignments turned in. (This is something you never have to do with graduate students.)  After class three students stayed after to ask how to do the assignments!  When I explained (for the umpteenth time) they accused me of never having told them before this.  I felt like I was in the Garden of Eden hearing Adam blaming God, followed by Eve blaming the serpent.  I would have been so much more sympathetic if they had said, “I never heard” instead of saying, “You didn’t.”  Perhaps that was asking too much.  That would have meant they were responsible.   (I’m sure they would have taken responsibility if something good had occurred.)

Taking responsibility when there is blame to be had (manning up) is a key factor in living a successful life.  It is THE key factor in being saved.  “If we confess our sins He is able to forgive.” Confession is manning up.  No going to therapy so we can blame our parents, no playing Flip Wilson by saying, “The devil made me do it.”  Life is choices.  Unfortunately not all of them work out so well.  The good news is God is eager to save, eager to forgive, eager to give us fresh starts, even if we need them on a daily basis.  When describing love in       I Corinthians 13 Paul wrote, “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”

My students will make my day when they turn in their assignments.  We can make God’s day by saying, “I did it.  I’m sorry.”

Written by Roger Bothwell on April 13, 2016