Regardless of your religious affiliations, political beliefs, or personal [in]adequacies, there’s a universal that must be accepted, en masse, by those who claim to be a part of the human race. Personal responsibility for the actions and outcomes one chooses to engage in. There are a great many people who would like to disagree with this concept; attorneys who proudly proclaim their client ought not to be blamed for their actions, but the circumstances that led to the harmful actions are to blame. Unfortunately, you can’t put a sad upbringing in the electric chair. Nor can a sad upbringing pull the trigger on a soon-to-be victim of a shooting crime. At the end of the day, we must take responsibility for our actions. Guns don’t kill people – People kill people.
Just as the finger pulls the trigger, the hand must be raised to accept personal responsibility for our actions. In writing this blog, I am required, too, to take responsibility for my actions and past choices. There’s no escaping it.
In my life, I have made a lot of poor choices. You may have been one of those poor choices. However, it’s always been out of my reach to try and shirk off responsibility for these actions. Sometimes the ability to accept guilt, without a finger to point in blame, is much more frustrating than if one had tried to pawn off the motives on something/somebody other than themselves.
in the past, I’ve also been quite bitter at the actions of those in the church, and also in the inadequacies of the church as a whole body. This distaste in my mouth has played a huge role in the number of poor choices I’ve made in the past; after watching the movie “Jesus Camp” I was so horrified at what I saw that I decided to drink myself to oblivion the same night. Poor choice, Plaat. However, even a movie that can elicit such a strong response was not enough to take away the responsibility of my actions that night.
This being said, I’m coming to realize that just as we must take responsibility for our actions, we must also bear the responsibility of making the right choice even in the midst of the worst possible circumstances. I can understand the physical/mental stresses of war, but no solider ought ever be excused from cold-blooded murders, rape, or theft of civilians. The same mentally applies to our lives; regardless of where you’ve come from, where you’ve been, or what you were taught, you have a personal responsibility for your actions and reactions to these settings.
I know a good deal of people who are, quite frankly, pissed off at the christian church. Are there inadequacies? Absolutely. Are many churches run poorly? Of course. Are there just as many deceivers within the walls of the church as outside it? Without doubt! Friend, this life is a minefield.
I no longer find it acceptable to be pissed off at the church/religious faithful for their actions, because I believe it to be contradictory towards a healthy mindset of the world; were one to get upset about such a small segment of life, without being equally upset at the inadequacies and injustices of the real world, one would immediately find their anger:reality ratio to be grossly distorted. I know several people in particular who shake an angry finger at G-d for their experiences in the christian church, while having absolutely no problem with injustices at their workplace (a man’s gotta eat) or the fact that global poverty is rampant (Out of sight – out of mind).
While I understand that our spiritual awareness ought to be a prevailing element of our lives, our experience within the church is a very small reflection on the hours spent of our day-to-day lives. Yet, I know several people who seem to have made it their life mission to point fingers at the church, christians (or other religious individuals) while neglecting certain elements of their lives, such as paying bills, finding employment, or taking care of personal hygiene.
What this boils down to is a very small group of pissed-off individuals who scream themselves red in the face of the faults of the church – who will only find surprise when others don’t seem to care as much as they do, because the others have properly identified religion for the level of significance it truly represents in their life.
Experiential temper tantrums; when somebody has an ‘awesome’ experience at a church service for a small period of time, and can’t understand why everybody else doesn’t ‘get it’ – which they tend to attribute to rampant sin in their lives.
This is no different than a couple having rapturous sex and complaining that the rest of the world doesn’t ‘get it’ because they aren’t also having rapturous sex at that moment.
Poor analogy? You be the judge.
Listen, I get it. I get that all of us have had poor experiences. All of us have been hurt, screwed, or taken advantage of at least once in our life. What happens is that we spend a disproportionate amount of time recovering/stewing in anger over these situations, over what these situations are really deserving of receiving.
If you’ve been hurt, but the church, an organization, an individual, business partnership, relationship, or family member, I truly know how you feel. I do. I would like to encourage you, however, to move on with your life and not let these situations own you beyond their occurrence.
I’m sorry this is a long blog, but it ought to be written with care.
When I returned from New York City, I was in a world of pain that I had previously been unfamiliar with. After having the floor pulled out from under me, hearing that the company I had hoped would propel me to success was no longer functioning, was a devastating blow! The hot tears that burned down my face upon receiving the phone call announcing the ending of the company practically burned lines down my cheeks. The situation hurt. A lot.
As soon as I got back to Ohio, it was nearly impossible for me to land back on my feet. I tried to jumpstart a few projects, here and there, but found that my mind wasn’t functioning well enough to work and provide an income stream. So, as any half-brained individual does, I went to school. Can a guy have a little humor or what? It was during my time at school that I re-learned the art of process; how to function with the rest of the pack. Once up to speed with the rest of the pack, I made a decision that I would kick into gear and begin making money during my last quarter at Ohio State University.
In light of a painfully hard December month, I vowed that January 1 would provide a fresh start to the new year. I also made it a personal goal to make $10,000.00 during my final quarter as a student. 10 weeks to make $10,000. It was an ambitious goal for a 23 year-old student. The week of finals, I surpassed my goal. Since I’ve told you a little bit about my past finances, I also ought to mention that I had less than $50.00 to my name the entire month of December, 2010.
For the record, I don’t speak of these figure out of arrogance or cockiness, but so that you can get a better understanding that I understand the meaning of pain, financial hardship, and rising above current circumstances. It is possible, friend.
It doesn’t matter where you’ve come from so long as you understand where you are going and willing to do what it takes to get there. Life is never fair, nor is it easy. However, if you are willing to put in the time, determination, and effort towards pursuing your dreams/goals, there should be nothing large enough to stand in your way.
Kid, you’re going to have days that make you want to scream. You will encounter people that make you want to cry. And I can assure you that your heart will be broken over and over again. You will walk through difficult situations that make you feel that nobody in the world could ever understand, and you might be right. Keep your head up high and never, ever, ever, ever quit.
Here’s to the race.