Accepting responsibility is difficult

On the lighter side of finger pointing…. While making my weekly appointment at a meeting of the Lehigh Double Circle Day Care, a charter member expressed concern over Cooperative Grain & Supply?s policy of closing on Saturdays.

?It?s costing me extra to go to Hillsboro to get my coffee one day a week,? he says, grinning. ?I?m thinking of sending CG&S a bill for the extra cost. It?s up to about 63? for the coffee, not counting mileage. If only Lehigh stayed open, I could get it for free.?

Amid the ensuing laughter, a new round of lighthearted finger pointing began. Another member of the group told a story that involved a Kansas Department of Transportation vehicle safety inspector, a semi hauling heifers and a plea from the driver to stay out of range of urinating cattle. This set off another round of explosive laughter.

Back to the serious side once more. Taking personal responsibility for our actions is a difficult thing to do. To recognize our imperfection is a humbling experience and deflates the ego. We must see ourselves as we really are, not as how we want others to think we are.

Accepting responsibility demands that we own up to our failures, even though, as much as we would like to be, to admit we are neither morally nor genetically superior to our neighbors.

In business, rather than accept responsibility for poor business practices that causes financial or personal harm to investors, employees and the public, transferring blame to someone else seems to be the rage these days.

Oil conglomerate, British Petroleum, Halliburton and Transocean, owner of the sunken Deep Water Horizon drilling rig, attempted to put things into proper perspective during recent congressional hearings. Each pointed the finger at the other as the chief cause for the explosion, fire and subsequent loss of life.

On the political front, finger pointing has always been an art form. Congress is outraged over the shoddy observance of safety protocols that could have prevented the catastrophe and ensuing oil spill.

Never mind an important fact that Congress and its regulatory bureaucracy were not properly enforcing regulations that certified design criteria of the equipment and safety protocols were in place that could have prevented this disaster in the first place.

In religion, we have the perfect victim for finger pointing. The bad boy is Satan, the evil one, Lucifer, the big D, a.k.a. the mean guy in the red suit, with a tail, horns and a pitch fork. He?s responsible for all the bad stuff in our world. It?s also scripturally based so we believe we have no need to find another scapegoat.

Which brings us full circle, back to the question of the missing digits. The human race is not exempt from responsibility, either. Plus, believe it or not, even Christians struggle with accepting their part in this, every day of their lives.

Owning up to our shortcomings does not magically take place when we accept the invitation to God?s celebration of eternal life. However, with God?s help, it becomes a journey of personal transformation, of confronting and getting rid of old habits, of changing the way we look at others.

By recognizing our weaknesses and acknowledging them before God, in a figurative sense, our fingers grow back and we are able to use them to build people up rather than tear them down. Instead of poking at them with an accusing finger, we give them a helping hand.

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