Sunday, December 14, 2008

Responsibility, a Gift

Several years ago I worked as a Behavioral Health Technician at a substance abuse treatment facility. It was and still is my honor to have worked in that environment. The individuals I worked with were in what I called "the trenches of repentance." They were people that were trying to change their lives. There was one day in particular that it struck me how I was getting the blessing of knowing them without the mask of drugs and alcohol, and they were beautiful.

The vast majority of those individuals had gone through very difficult situations and suffering. I was able to lead a lot of group discussions. One of my favorite ones was a discussion on faith. I would ask the group two questions that always got similar answers whenever the discussion on faith came up. The first question I asked was "Does God have the ability to take away all of your suffering?" The answer was always a resounding yes. The second question I asked was "Then why doesn't He?" The responses to this question were invariably along the lines of "so that we can learn." or "so that He can help us to be better people." or "so, we can get something good out of something bad."

These groups understood that God will make something good out of us and our trials, and that a necessary part of that is facing up to our responsibilities, facing the consequences. Repentance is an amazing gift it brings us back in line with God and restores us to integrity with Him. But, God in His wisdom allows us to face consequences good and not so good so that we can grow, and so that He can make us better if we let Him. Mercy and Justice are both gifts, and part of that is responsibility. God is perfect and His wisdom provides a pattern for us to follow.

It seems like in this country we face a crisis of not wanting to take responsibility. From things as simple as fast food, where we don't take responsibility for making our own meals (I fully confess to doing this quite a bit), to things as serious as abortion. It seems to plague the nation’s conscious. This is one of my big beefs with the whole bailout process. The best answer for these companies is to let it play out. I don't want people to lose their jobs. But, it seems that throwing money at the businesses and at Wall Street has not made a dent.

I think something good can come out of all of this, but the process of responsibility must be trusted. It's a gift. We can get through an economic crisis. We have gotten through worse and the country has become better for it. We trust in God, and we will be better as we trust in His process.

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