September 30, 2017

Romans 8:34 – Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

We live in a troubled world. Turmoil, strife, anger, hatred – all swirl aimless and without any seeming purpose, around us, toward us and if we are not careful, in us. Voices shout loud seeking our attention and attitudes of despair and disdain torment whole groups, tribes and cultures.

The pain of existence is screaming in torment! “I am offended,” “You are the cause of my plight!” “It is your fault!” “The reason we do not have equality is because of you!” “The plight of my slice of culture is deprived because of you!”

And we feel the onslaught of claims and counter claims and cringe at the possibility of yet another confrontation from another group blaming us for their misery. So how are we supposed to respond? What can we do to alleviate their pain and the condition into which they have fallen?

We first of all have to decide who pushed them into the pit of despair. OK, they are going to tell you that you did it! It is your fault! You have all the money, all the privilege and all the advantages. Their condition is therefore your fault. They need is for you to do what? What are they asking me to do?

Concept image of a lost and confused signpost against a blue cloudy sky.

Should we join them? Will my demonstrating, rioting, yelling, marching or joining them in the streets solve their problem?

It is here that our entire culture has forgotten a simple and basic premise of life and of success. NO ONE CAN DESTROY MY LIFE! Life is not found in the context, but in the content. It does not matter what the situation, the condition or the context is – life is not discovered or found or given to any of us. It is created. It is ours to make.

We love the feel-good stories of the seriously injured or the physically handicapped who reach beyond their limitations and do not allow anything to stand in the way of their success. We pack the chambers to hear their story. They are heroes! They understand that life is not fair and that circumstances are arbitrary, ye they reach down, deep into their soul and find that Indomitable spirit that will not quit, will not give in and will not accept the context of life as the content of life.

There are things in life that no one can change. I am either short of tall or of medium height and I cannot change that. I have a body type, a metabolism, and a brain that is different than anyone else’s. I am Oriental, Caucasian, Latin, African, European or whatever or a combination of heritages. I am born into a family and a culture and a predisposition that is provided by my family. I have nothing to do with these things but I cannot change them and have to determine how to deal with them. I can accept my state or reject it. But it is mine to deal with. No one else’s. Others have their own.

As long as I blame the forces and people outside of myself, I am making a conscious choice to give them control of the content of my life. I give over responsibility to others for me. In that act of submission, I determine that I will succeed or fail based on what others do with me and for me. I can get angry about the end result and picket, riot or scream. But the end will not be good because it is determined by the context I assign blame to. Blame is the enemy of success, happiness, progress and ultimately brings failure.

One of the great truths and realizations in life is that no one really cares to take responsibility for my life because it is tough enough to take care of their own. As Mark Twain said, “You’d be far less worried about what people thought about you, if you realized how seldom they did!” Human nature is given to survival and success for the sake of the rewards it brings. We work for pay. We love when we are loved. We do not spend our leisure hours thinking about what others are doing to survive and succeed. Self-interest is a basic motivation for all of us. But when I divorce myself from the cause and effect relationship that exists between my self-interest and the results of my personal responsibility, I short circuit the system. I make others responsible for that which they cannot control, cannot change and have little motivation to do so. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is.

So, put down your placard, get out of the mob, stop griping about life and get on with it. Make something of yourself because no one else is going to do it for you. You can complain about the advantage others have or you can compete with them for the rewards of life. And you will discover something wonderful in the process: Life is good when you make it good!

So, I have decided that you can complain about your plight, riot, demonstrate, take a knee or do whatever it is that tries to make me responsible for your plight. But I will not accept it. I reject group guilt and shame for being who I am. And I invite you to do the same. In doing so, you will find strength, courage, love, acceptance and a whole bunch of good things waiting as you join the ranks of the responsible and reject your shame based, blame oriented rant.

Who can do this? Anyone can do this. It is not a closed door to the world of advantage held tightly by the successful. It is an open door that is closed only by an attitude and an orientation of those who blame others for their plight. Come on, you can do this. Only you can do it.