Thursday, 5 July 2012

Who is to blame?

This week we have seen more headlines of children vulnerable to abuse. We all want to know who is responsible. We want to know how can someone put these atrocities right. We want to know what is being done about it.

Unfortunately they are the wrong questions that we are asking. So all the time we are asking the wrong questions we will get the wrong answers.

So what are the right questions? The right questions start with not apportioning blame but claiming responsibility. If we start with the understanding that those children are our responsibility then the questions become very different. An old African proverb says "It takes a village to raise a child". We all play our part in raising children. The problems arises when we abdicate our responsibility. We become so involved in our own lives that we forget that God created us to live and thrive in community.

As society as a whole has become more individualistic, it becomes easier to lay the blame at someone else's door. Blame has NEVER solved a problem. Taking OWNERSHIP and RESPONSIBILITY will. Nehemiah said this "I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly towards you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses." (Neh 1:6-7) He aligned himself with the problem and from there started looking for the solution to the destruction of his city. As the church of Jesus Christ (who aligned Himself with the problem of sin and brought the solution from there) we too often move away from society's problems with the excuse that we are "not of this world". 
  • Children being abused is not a government problem.
  • The country's national debt and recession is not the government's problem.
  • The riots that took place last year is not the problem of poverty.
  • Human trafficking is not a police problem.
  • Children's lack of literacy and numeracy skills is not an education department problem.
  • Childhood mortality in Africa is not Africa's problem.
  • Children in care is not a social services problem.
  • Litter and pollution is not a local authority problem. 
They are all MY responsibility. They are YOUR responsibility. They are OUR responsibility.

We start looking for someone or organisation to blame because it is easier than to look at our own lives and say "I'm sorry, I did not play my part in looking after you". 

Please understand I am not saying that governments, local authorities, corporate business etc does not bear some weight of responsibility. 
They do. 
But so do we.
We can't do everything but we MUST do something.
If we began, each of us, to say that is my problem, how can I fix it, imagine what a difference we could make.
What small decision could you make today that begins to take ownership of a problem you see?
Pray with me a version of Nehemiah's prayer and then ACT.
 "I confess the sins we, including myself and my family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly towards you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave us.
Here I am Lord send me"

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