"Snippets" from David

Me Assuming Responsibility for Me

There is no question that a human being is a composite of many influences--childhood home environment, childhood role models, educational opportunities, social environment, cultural impacts, peer pressures, encouraged aspirations, etc. Among the many influences that contribute to who and what we are looms the power of personal choice.

Sometimes you witness a person who had every disadvantage in life, yet triumphed to be truly worthwhile. Sometimes you witness a person who endured the same set of severe disadvantages and became worthless and intended to benefit no one. Each time you view two such people, you wonder how one could be triumphant and one be worthless. From the same family, situation, and environment arises a person who encourages and blesses people AND an addict who is determined to squander his or her life.

Regardless of our circumstances, we never cease to be a person of choice. Consequential choices are rarely easily made. Consequential choices often result in hardships to be endured. No one develops a life that blesses others at no cost to himself or herself. Many are the moments of questioning, and many are the moments of doubt. Yet, in the face of costs, hardships, questions, and doubts the person who is a blessing makes choices and refuses to be paralyzed by circumstances.

It seems a key question for a person to ask himself or herself is this: "What is the purpose of my life?" Some approach the answer to that question with the realization that "my life is a part of something much bigger than me." He or she approaches life searching for meaning. He or she searches for opportunity, sees it, and sacrificially responds to it. He or she accepts responsibility, even when he or she makes mistakes. There is nothing to prove, only the challenge to be.

Others approach the answer to the same question with the conviction "life is about me--and nothing else!" He or she approaches life searching for excuses. If he or she "fails," it is always someone else's or something else's fault. He or she searches for ways to place blame on someone or some thing else. No matter what occurs, it is never "my fault." Responsibility is a foe to be avoided, not a friend to be embraced. At every turn on life's road, there is something to prove "about me"--life is never about what "I am becoming."

Cain was angry when his sacrifice did not please God (Genesis 4:5,6) From what followed it seems that even in his sacrifice, Cain was more interested in Cain's success than God's honor. God Himself wondered why Cain reacted with anger.

God's statement is quite insightful. "If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted [or surely you will be accepted]. And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and it's desire is for you, but you must master it" (Genesis 4:7, NASV).

Note Cain is angry, not God. Note in the rejected sacrifice, Cain is upset and incensed, not God. Note sin had not yet devoured Cain, but it was prepared to. Whether sin would triumph in this matter or God would triumph depended on Cain's choice. It was not too late! He could be angry and provide evil opportunity, or he could learn from the displeasing sacrifice and understand. It was his choice!

Those who accept the responsibility to choose wisely grow in character. Those who replace the responsibility to choose wisely by seeking to blame others for their irresponsible behavior and attitudes destroy character. Character begins by assuming responsibility for our choices.

24 May, 2005
David Chadwell

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