Over the last couple of weeks at work, we’ve been exceptionally busy, so I’ve had little time to write. However, I have been keeping watch, and I have seen one issue that has appeared, and reappeared quite prevalently across multiple aspects of my life, both personal and professional. This is an old issue, very prominent, and it is one that I have discussed before. Since it has come up so much recently, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the subject again.
The issue in question is the issue of personal responsibility. The simple fact is this: most issues that people complain about are issues that can easily be resolved if the individual takes personal responsibility. It also happens that , in my experience, this is also the way to bring about personal and societal spirituality.
We have been raised in a society where we have been taught from birth to place the blame, or solution outside of ourselves. This is one of the major issues I have with religion. With church and religion, people are taught, “God will provide the solution.”, or “God created the problem…”. This is not what the spiritual teachings actually say, and these church teachings are propagating the issues by not teaching people to assume responsibility for their situation or for finding a solution.
Over the years, I have seen many illustrations from many bibles, and two of them are favorites of mine. Two, which might seem to be contradictory. One of them is an old illustration of Jesus giving his Sermon on the Mount. The other is Jesus overthrowing the temples, and throwing over the tables of the tax collectors. The first, is completely understandable. The Sermon on the Mount is a beautiful scene, and love and compassion always makes a beautiful teaching. But why would I love a scene that depicts violence from someone who is supposed to be all about love and compassion?
The reason I love the scene of Jesus overthrowing the temple is that even an act of so called “violence” can be a loving act. Sometimes, the most loving thing that a minister can do for someone is to tell the truth, and sometimes that truth must be shown in a dramatic fashion. Sometimes, it’s a minister’s responsibility to tell someone, brutally honestly if necessary, that they are their own problem, and their own solution.
Personal accountability is a difficult issue for anyone, and I’ve had to face and deal with it many times myself. As a minister, I must hold myself accountable for my own actions, and set an example for others. But sometimes, it is just as important, if not more so, to be responsible to tell someone else that they need to stop blaming others for what they themselves have created, and what they need to resolve for themselves. I consider myself a poor example of a minister if I cannot do that when needed. It also doesn’t mean that I don’t love, or care about the person I am trying to help. Rather, sometimes that brutal honesty is the most loving thing I can give them, and the best hope for their healing.