A man was caught speeding by the police according to the current affairs program I was watching. Instead of stopping when instructed by police, the man fled. This resulted in a high speed police chase which ended tragically with the death of the man.
When the man’s sister was questioned on whether her brother was in any way accountable for his actions, to my surprise, her response was ‘no’. She believed that the police were solely responsible for the accident, and that her brother would still be alive if the police hadn’t chased him in the first place.
I watched another story about a girl who was suing her school because she felt that the school failed to get her into a law degree at the University of Sydney. Her final secondary school score was insufficient, and hence she failed to qualify to study law at her desired University. The hearing is due to resume in August and it will be quite interesting to see the outcome of this story.
One common denominator I find today is in the area of accountability which appears to be a trend in our society. Whatever happened to being responsible for our own actions? It seems like it’s so much easier to point the finger at someone or something else, than admit to our own short comings. Liability has become such a big issue that many organisations have people sign legal documents to waive any incidents that may occur.
But please don’t misunderstand me here. There are cases that the accused party is clearly responsible for the undesirable outcome e.g. due to negligence (such as consciously allowing an employee to work on dangerous rooftops without a harness). However, there have been many incidents that the fault can simply be placed on the accuser. I realise the courts are there to determine outcomes when such cases that come up.
101 Christian Theology
When I think about such incidents, I’m inclined to think about what happened in the Garden of Eden (Genesis chapter 3 verses 1-12). When God questioned Adam about eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, his immediate response was: “the woman you [God] put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it (v12).”
Adam knew he had done wrong but rather than accepting responsibility for his own actions, he chose to blame God. Adam and Eve even tried to hide from God. They knew that they had been disobedient and were most probably afraid of the consequences they would have to face. In addition, I believe in part that Adam’s pride withheld his confession. So unaccountability is not new – in fact it has existed from the beginning of mankind.
101 Christian Theology is that it was sin (disobedience of God’s law) that brought about our separation from God. Without the acknowledgement of our sin, we cannot move forward with God. Otherwise, I may as well say: “the devil tempted me, and I gave in.
But it’s not my fault – it’s the devil’s! He shouldn’t have tempted me in the first place. He is the one that deserves the punishment. Not I. I just went ahead and ‘ate what was offered to me on the plate.’”
Responsibility and Privileges of Choice
Having the power and freedom to choose our actions is a great privilege. We need to be willing to accept the choices that we make regardless of whether they are good or bad. I can only hope that in my day to day life, I choose to obey God, and take responsibility for my own actions. I alone am accountable. Pushing the blame on anything else will never free us from sin, but will only entangle us in a chain of eternal disaster.
Besides this, the only way we can come to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, is if we acknowledge that we have sinned (done wrong according to God’s law), and repent (or turn away from our sin) and seek forgiveness (for the wrongs we have done) from God.
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (Proverbs chapter 28 verse 13 NIV)
Kandima Awendila was born in Mozambique and lives and works as an IT Service Desk Engineer on the Gold Coast.
Kandi Awendila's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/kandima-awendila.html