Thursday, 5 July 2012

Who is to blame?

This week we have seen more headlines of children vulnerable to abuse. We all want to know who is responsible. We want to know how can someone put these atrocities right. We want to know what is being done about it.

Unfortunately they are the wrong questions that we are asking. So all the time we are asking the wrong questions we will get the wrong answers.

So what are the right questions? The right questions start with not apportioning blame but claiming responsibility. If we start with the understanding that those children are our responsibility then the questions become very different. An old African proverb says "It takes a village to raise a child". We all play our part in raising children. The problems arises when we abdicate our responsibility. We become so involved in our own lives that we forget that God created us to live and thrive in community.

As society as a whole has become more individualistic, it becomes easier to lay the blame at someone else's door. Blame has NEVER solved a problem. Taking OWNERSHIP and RESPONSIBILITY will. Nehemiah said this "I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly towards you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses." (Neh 1:6-7) He aligned himself with the problem and from there started looking for the solution to the destruction of his city. As the church of Jesus Christ (who aligned Himself with the problem of sin and brought the solution from there) we too often move away from society's problems with the excuse that we are "not of this world". 
  • Children being abused is not a government problem.
  • The country's national debt and recession is not the government's problem.
  • The riots that took place last year is not the problem of poverty.
  • Human trafficking is not a police problem.
  • Children's lack of literacy and numeracy skills is not an education department problem.
  • Childhood mortality in Africa is not Africa's problem.
  • Children in care is not a social services problem.
  • Litter and pollution is not a local authority problem. 
They are all MY responsibility. They are YOUR responsibility. They are OUR responsibility.

We start looking for someone or organisation to blame because it is easier than to look at our own lives and say "I'm sorry, I did not play my part in looking after you". 

Please understand I am not saying that governments, local authorities, corporate business etc does not bear some weight of responsibility. 
They do. 
But so do we.
We can't do everything but we MUST do something.
If we began, each of us, to say that is my problem, how can I fix it, imagine what a difference we could make.
What small decision could you make today that begins to take ownership of a problem you see?
Pray with me a version of Nehemiah's prayer and then ACT.
 "I confess the sins we, including myself and my family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly towards you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave us.
Here I am Lord send me"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 2 July 2012

Guard your heart

Over the past few weeks I have been preaching on the subject of Healthy Relationships. Having the right people around us (and being the right people) is crucial to our growth in our walk with Christ.
Proverbs 4:23 tells us "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it" Our heart is shaped by the people that we allow to speak into it. Saying "Above all else..." means it is a priority. Our heart needs to be protected from unhealthy relationships which would misshape it, so why do allow the wrong people to shape our hearts?
Imagine that you are incredibly hungry.
For some reason you haven't been able to get any food or you have been sick and not able to keep any food down.
You have no food in your house.
What do you do?
 When you are this hungry and have no food to satisfy your hunger. Where would you go?
  • To a friend who is also really hungry and has no food? It makes sense to go there because he understands how you feel when no one else can.
  • The people that have food are annoying because they don't realise how hungry you are and what you are going through.
  • Your hungry friends won't judge you for being hungry.
  • They will reinforce that you’re ok to be hungry.
  • They will help you come to terms with your hunger.
  • They won't look down on you like your non-hungry friends might.
If this sounds just a bit ludicrous, why do we do this with relationships?
If we were hungry we would go to people who could feed us not those that are hungry as well. To be with the hungry we need to have something to feed them with.
If we are feeling low spiritually or relationally why do we go to people who are as hungry as we are?
Go to those that will feed us. That's what the prodigal son did.
Show me your friends and I will show you your future.
As someone tweeted the other day "Align yourself with people who match your destiny and not your history"
I want to be someone who shapes people's hearts in a godly direction. What about you?