“I am innocent . . the responsibility is yours.” Matthew 27:24 NLT.
Being a Christ-follower is simple, not complex; just follow Jesus.
My thoughts and comments today are about “taking responsibility.”
When religious leaders accused Jesus before Pilate, the Roman Governor questioned Him and announced, “I find no fault in this man.’” Matthew 23:4 NIV. He could have set Jesus free with a single word, but he did not. Instead, “He sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands, saying, ’I am innocent of the blood of this man. The responsibility is yours.’” Matthew 27:24 NLT. There was enough blame for everyone. In washing his hands Pilate thought he was through with the matter, but is more remembered for that single act than anything else he ever said or did. Washing his hands became a symbolism for every attempt to deflect blame onto another by deferring individual responsibility.
Who hasn’t heard a child’s self-justifying excuse for misbehavior, “He hit me first; well, she started it.” There is always an excuse for one’s own behavior if willing to blame someone else. Taking responsibility does not come naturally; it has to be taught and learned. Never confuse excuses with reasons. If you are looking for someone or something to blame for your shortcomings or failures, you can always find an excuse for why you did not do what you should or why you are not what you are supposed to be.
Shifting blame is a cowardly practice, but one as old as the human race. The practice began at creation and continues uninterrupted yet today. Deferring personal responsibility by assigning blame is nothing new. In Eden, Eve was tempted and readily included Adam. Read Genesis 3:1-13 NIV. When their disobedience was exposed, Eve blamed the temptation; Adam blamed Eve, then even blamed God. “’The man said, ‘The woman You put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God said, ‘What is this you have done?’” Genesis 3:12-13 NIV.
God who is always just – and always right – addressed individual responsibility and assigned fitting consequences to the Deceiver, then to Eve, and finally to Adam. God will hold each person responsible for our own thoughts, feelings, words, or actions. Read Romans 14:12-13 NKJV. And thus the die was cast in human hearts and history. By choice, you bear your spiritual heritage, whether of Adam or Christ.
Godly Character requires that you accept personal accountability, in order to change and mature. Others will carry their own guilt for their choices; for your choices, you bear your own responsibility. See Romans 2:6-11 NIV. When Peter questioned how God would handle John, Jesus’ response was clear and to the point, “What is that to you? You follow Me.” John 21:18-22 NKJV.
Being a Christ-follower is simple, not complex; just follow Jesus. Your responsibility before God is singular, just as your response to Him must be. Leave the moral frailties and spiritual failures of others for God to sort out, while you keep your heart clear before Him. Read Matthew 7:1-5 NLT. On a cross, the One who had no sins of His own took full responsibility for your sins and mine. 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV. The Righteous One will deal with each of us with grace and truth. “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came though Jesus Christ.” See John 1:14-18 NIV.
My prayer for you today is that you will keep your eyes on Jesus alone.