"Then my people will know that I am The Lord their God - responsible for sending them away to exile, and responsible for bringing them home." - Ezekiel 39:28 (Living Bible)
By now, I'm sure you've noticed that when things go well, people like to talk about what "we did." And when things go wrong, what "we did" quickly becomes what "you did" or what someone else did.
The line of people waiting to claim the spotlights of achievement and success is always long. But those who are assigned responsibility for failure and turmoil often find themselves ostracized and alone.
It takes a big person to own responsibility for tragedy as well as triumph.
Ezekiel's prophesy made it clear that Israel fell into the captivity of foreign enemies because Israel was not faithful to God. Nonetheless, despite Israel's transgressions, God takes full responsibility for the punishment of their captivity as well as for the deliverance of their repatriation.
Perhaps taking responsibility for Israel's suffering was God's way of letting the people know that even during the dark years of their displacement, they were never outside the purview of providential care.
Notwithstanding all of our favorite scapegoats, it behooves all of us to take more responsibility for the valleys as well as the victories we encounter in life.
If domestic disputes and community conflicts could shift the focus from individual villains to shared responsibility, more of our families and communities could be saved and strengthened.
If both major political parties in America would cease the partisan blame game and take more responsibility for the nation's gridlock, we could all make better progress.
There's always plenty of blame to go around, but responsibility never seems to have enough takers.
God, instead of blaming others today, help me to realize when the buck stops with me. Amen.
From UCC's StillSpeaking Devotional. Visit UCC.org