Stop blaming; some of the responsibility for the darkness lies with us

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There always seems to be an inferred expectation that I address recent headlines, the bulk of which have centered on moral degradation, pain and tragedy. If I may interject a personal feeling - it's depressing.

My column can be found between headlines that tell of mass shootings and political corruption. It would be irresponsible not to address these circumstances and point others to the hope found in Scripture. That's what I attempt to do, anyway.

I've noticed a trend among those who also author opinion columns and tasked with providing perspective on our current events: Their pens are heavy with blame. Indeed, the world, it seems, is desperate for someone or something to blame as we try to make sense of these dark times. The poor blame the rich and vice versa. It's the fault of this type of person, this race, this socio-economic class. It's this leader's fault, or it's because of these general feelings. It's the fault of smartphone or antiquated thinking.

Point, point, point. Blame, blame, blame. Round and around we go. We have plenty of people willing to saddle another with the blame but few who think they deserve it.

G.K. Chesterton was a popular writer around the turn of the 20th century, and according to a popular account, succinctly answered a question posed in a newspaper to him and several other thinkers of his time. It's a question that many ask now.

"What is wrong with the world today?"

His reply was so simple that I'll include it below in its entirety.

"Dear Sir, I am. Yours, G.K. Chesterton."

I've heard a lot of admissions recently as well as some apologies that weren't really apologies. In those cases, the so-called penitent listed excuses as to his or her behavior. He or she came up with reasons why he or she did the horrendous thing, the unpreventable circumstance that led to his or her actions. Rarely do you find someone willing to own the problem. Maybe we're scared of that weight and what it might mean for our future.

But at some point, we have to realize that part of the responsibility for this present darkness lies with us. We haven't been bold in our faith. We haven't been as loving as we could have been. We haven't spoken the truth in love. No, we seem to be wholly content to blame.

Taking responsibility for our actions - or lack of actions - is the first step. We can let it motivate us toward seeing God-honoring change in our world.

"See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done." (2 Corinthians 7:11a, NIV)

It all starts with owning your shortcomings, then letting God work in you. Are you ready to see the world around you change?

I am.

Email Jamie H. Wilson at faithmatterssumter@gmail.com.