Taking Responsibility

I am all for justice.

Recently, Luzerne County, PA judge Mark A. Ciavarella, was found guilty for a number of crimes involving the so-called “kids for cash” scandal. He was convicted of a number of the crimes but not others and was allowed to be released until sentencing. This did not sit well with parents of children who had been sent by the judge for minor crimes to detention facilities. And rightly so. It seems like the judge is being treated leniently while the children he sent away received far harsher penalties than they deserved.

Many though are accusing the judge and the detention of their children to be the cause of all their problems. Case-in-point, Sandy Fonzo, who confronted the judge at the press conference following the trial. Her son was convicted of a minor offense by the judge and sent away. She says he changed following that event, becoming angry and depressed, until tragically he killed himself. Similar stories were echoed by other parents and by those who were sent away by the judge. Truly, these things are heart-breaking. Punishment should fit the crime and it sounds as if these children were judged harshly solely over the greed of the judge.

The problem though is that those affected by the kids for cash scandal refuse to take any responsibility for their own actions. While the situation is awful and this judge should do his time for his crime, people are responsible for their own actions. Our society is so filled with blame-shifting that no one can own up and take responsibility for their actions any longer.

As awful as being locked away for a minor offense is, it is not the cause of all of your problems. The responsibility for your problems lies squarely at your door. The reality is, the problems in my life are ultimately my responsibility. Do events influence the way I live my life? Yes. Being jailed for minor offenses will surely affect the way I think and act. Yet, I am still the one responsible. Me, and me alone is responsible for my behavior. Yet, in our society we blame everyone else but ourselves. It’s our parents fault, our teacher’s fault, our government’s fault, etc. You get the idea.

Romans 14:12 reminds us that we will all give an account before God for our actions. The Scriptures teach we are responsible for our thoughts, our speech, our actions, our intents. And unfortunately, left to ourselves we fail to take responsibility. Yet, we will be held accountable for our actions before God. We might get to blame a judge today for our lot in life, but one day, the Judge of heaven and earth will not allow us to shift the blame. It rests square upon our shoulders. Either we will pay for it for eternity, or the One who died on the cross can pay for it for us if we believe.

So, I’m all for justice. The judge should get the book thrown at him. We should all be heart-broken about how these children were affected. But, we all need to be reminded that we are responsible for our problems ultimately. Not someone else. Learn to take responsibility here for your actions. Realize you are to blame and do something about it. Thankfully, we have a fair and impartial Judge in heaven who will acquit you of your crime if you trust in His Son for salvation.

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