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Escape from responsibility?
- Jacob Ninan
When we were children we could expect others (starting from our parents) to take care of us, provide for us, plan for us, help us out of difficult situations, clean up our mess, etc. Unfortunately, many of us have not yet grown out of this attitude and come to the place where we take the responsibility for making decisions and taking action.
One common symptom of this problem is that we complain why God is not taking good care of us. We think we have prayed and committed our problems to Him (doesn't the Bible tell us to cast our burdens upon Him (Ps.55:22)?), and we wonder why God is not answering our prayers. Or we mess up our life in some way, ask God for forgiveness and then wonder why we still have to clean up the mess. If we have spoiled our relationship with our spouse over the years and then come to the Lord, we expect that our marriage should become like heaven overnight. We fool around in school or university and then we pray for good grades overnight.
Sometimes we expect that when some godly man prays over us our problems will be gone. When that does not happen we conclude that he is not so great after all, not realising that we need to do something about our attitudes, behaviour, etc.
We are unwilling to take up responsibility for our actions. We are ourselves unwilling to change, and we want God to change the others and our circumstances. Is this how God works?
God is ever willing to forgive. He is gracious and longsuffering. But when we repent, it is not that we feel bad about the predicament we find ourselves in, but we feel sorry for what we have done. Feeling bad about our situation is a worldly type of sorrow or remorse. But repentance means that we are sorry that we did certain wrong things. If our repentance is genuine, we will also want to set things right, and do things differently now (2Co.7:10,11).
It looks very appealing to pray and leave things in God's hands. There is a right way to do this, and that is to recognise that without Him we can do nothing (Jn.15:5), and also that with Him we can do all things (Php.4:13). But to expect that we can continue to act irresponsibly and that God will do all things for us is sheer folly.
But we are foolish people, especially in spiritual matters. The devil is also out to deceive us. Don't we need to sit up and take note of our tendency to this folly and learn to change our ways?
In the famous passage about God's way of free salvation, He said that He would wash us and make us clean even if our past record has been dirty and seemingly irreparable (Is.1:18). But in the same passage He also tells us that we have to change our ways and learn new ways (v.16,17). He will certainly do His part. But let us not imagine that we can get away from doing our part. God loves us as His children, but He will not pamper us.