The season of Advent is almost upon us again.
I have to say that the older I get, the more I have come to value the Church's penitential seasons. For they offer an opportunity to take personal stock in terms of our spiritual journey. Am I becoming more like Christ? Are old habits that die so hard still tripping me up?
One of the things I am learning is when I have to take responsibility and when responsibility belongs to someone else. I fear its a lifetime challenge. I think its so hard for us because of the consistent need many of us have to justify our behaviour, not least our bad behaviour! Indeed, the wise of this world understand this.
Today our culture tends to want to find someone else to blame:
Its not my fault - it was my parents that made me like this.
Its the Governments fault.
He started it
In Old Testament times, for a period of their history, the Jewish people found themselves in exile. Removed from the land God had promised them and in a foreign country, morale was low and in an effort to explain their predicament a proverb had arisen amongst them.
"'The parents eat sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'? In trying to find an answer as to why they were in exile, they came up with this. In other words, our plight is not our fault, but the fault of our forefathers. Not me, guv.
Gods response to this is worryingly clear, "As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. The reason? For the soul that sins shall surely die.
In other words, dont play the blame game take responsibility for your behaviour.
As Advent approaches maybe we need to reflect on this. Whats going wrong in my life that I need to take responsibility for? It could be host of things, but worry about the things that you could name that need to change in you. In other words, take responsibility.
God blesses our honest attempts to seek his help. Indeed, he has offered the help of the Holy Spirit to assist us in the process of change. But that process will not begin until we have worked out where we need to take responsibility.
The season of Advent offers us the gift of a short time to reflect. A few weeks in our busy schedules for some honest self examination. Maybe some feedback from a spouse or partner might help? (maybe not!) Maybe a session with a Christian we respect or a spiritual director if we have one might move us on.
Ive spent too much time in my life blaming others. Slowly I am learning that more often than not its me that needs to take responsibility.
Think about it