The roots of every cultural crisis rest in personal crises. The failure of a culture is the failure of the men in it. A society cannot be vital and possessed of an on-going vigour if the men therein are marked by a loss of faith, a retreat from responsibility, and an unwillingness to cope with personal problems. A culture loses its will to live and to conquer if its members manifest a spirit of retreat and surrender… Not surprisingly, our world-wide cultural crisis is rooted in the failure of men.1
Human responsibility is something which was pre-supposed in Genesis 1 and 2. God’s command to our first parents to“rule and have dominion,”necessitated responsibility on their part. Responsibility is something we either accept, or reject.
We may not like it, or want it, but it will not go away. Responsibility as a husband and father, requires time, work, inconvenience, and sometimes suffering. We always have to ask ourselves the old questions:
“If not you, who?” and “if not now, when?”
The correlative promises however, are that “power flows to those that take responsibility”(Gary North), and that “where responsibility rests, authority lies.”The best example of these two statements in history, is Jesus Christ. He took ultimate responsibility for the sins of others, and gave up His life, but now He’s called “…the heir of all things”(Heb.1:2).
A friend of mine once told me about a family incident, over fifty years ago. His parents were believers, but they had been having some serious marital problems. One day, his Mum had been cooking scrambled eggs in the kitchen, and she was very upset with her husband about something. Her husband came into the room, at which point she picked up the frying-pan of scrambled eggs, and, inverting the frying-pan (and its contents), threw the whole thing on the floor at his feet.
Now for many men (perhaps most men), this would be an act that they could not endure, without losing their temper. What did he do? He bent down, turned over the frying-pan, calmly put everything back into it, and gave it back to her. I admire his self-control, but more than that, his sense of responsibility in the situation. He did save his marriage.
Many Biblical leaders came on the scene after a disaster, when other people had made a mess of things. Nehemiah was one. He said to his friends,
You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the gates of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach. I told them how the hand of my God had been favourable to me, and also about the king’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, “Let us arise and build.” So they put their hands to the good work (Neh.2:17-18).
Because of his calling, and his profound sense of responsibility Nehemiah was ready to rebuild, after a disaster others had precipitated.
It’s not much fun having to rebuild after someone else’s mistakes, but at least it can only get better from now on. There will be nobody else to blame for what happens in the future.
Sometimes, the wrecker has been ourselves. It was us, who “messed up.”I’ve done that.
The good thing about this, is that“failure is not final,” and that if you or I are prepared to humble our hearts, get our hands dirty and sort out the affairs, as messy and painful as this may be, there should be a good outcome. Every man has the challenge of being either part of the problem, or part of the solution.
Having authority (which is always God’s plan for His people), requires the taking of responsibility now. In the home, it begins in loving and serving our wife and children, and forgetting our pride, which God said He hates anyway. If we will do this as godly husbands and fathers, we will get blessed and rewarded. It starts with me, and you.
Will you be part of this?
1 Rousas Rushdoony, “Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.168-9.