October 19

Text: Matthew 27:19

And while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, "Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him."  (NASB)

Poor Pilate!  He thought he could evade responsibility so easily!  All he needed to do was to say and show that he was not responsible for what was happening.

Responsibility is such a peculiar thing.  At a distance it seems so harmless—many think, “Anybody could handle that!”  It seems only to be an insignificant road to power and prestige.  Surely if a person has the power to command, responsibility is a “nothing” act reduced to a mere duty.  If a person is in a position of importance, does not the prestige of the office reduce responsibility to the status of a whimpering puppy running for cover?  Is it not just a matter of who is in control?

However, responsibility that is “up close and personal” becomes a roaring monster.  It is a monster not for a moment, but for endless days.  It is the stuff of nightmares; of cold, sweaty chills; of hounding thoughts that will not disappear; of “what ifs”; and of haunting consequences that defy forgetting.  The fascinating but gruesome discovery is that responsibility is not an “out there—other people” requirement, but a very personal “in here—me” requirement.  On our deepest personal level, responsibility forces us to measure ourselves as we stand in judgment of self.  Only a person of total selfishness numbly runs from responsibility.  A person who thoughtlessly evades responsibility is a pitiful creature that is not even useful to self.

Poor Pilate!  “Those pesky Jewish leaders!  My dreaming wife!  This silent man!  This ridiculous holiday!  The transparent motive!  This stupid nationalism!  What am I supposed to do?  What is an important man like me doing in a mess like this?  I do not belong here!  This is not my problem!”

Ultimately, responsibility is not about what others think of you, but about what you think of yourself.

Suggestion for reflection: How well do you handle responsibility?  (Read Genesis 4:1-16.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell