I did it
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:46 AM [+]
A moment of clarity came to me by means of a lawyer's commercial I heard recently on the radio. Geared toward people who were facing a drunk driving charge, the lawyer promised to be able to help because "we understand that bad things happen to good people."
Upon hearing it, I could have fallen out of my chair from shock. But upon further reflection it really doesn't surprise me, for we are society seemingly obsessed with not taking responsibility for ourselves. We blame everyone and everything...except ourselves. No, it is not a new phenomenon, reference Adam’s attempt at blaming Eve, but it does seem that presently we more readily embrace the notion that we are not in control of our actions. Place this prominantly in your mind for a day or two and marvel at the examples you will find – however subtle – of people shielding themselves from blame behind a sort of deterministic mantra.
Sex is a real big one. Consider how we strive through medical technology to avoid the typically natural consquences of intercourse: children. Furthermore, consider how we strive on a moral level to remove the emotional responsibility of commitment from sex. I recently heard a conservative radio personality make a very good point to a pro-abortion caller who insisted on being called “pro-choice.” He said that he was pro-choice too, because he believed that everyone woman (save rape of course) CHOOSES to get pregnant. But you see, we as a society believe we ought to be able to do anything we like without ugly consequences like responsibility.
It used to be said: “the devil made me do it” but now we say “my genes and my terrible environment made me do it” or something to that effect. I recently read, and I cannot recall where, that the best way to deal with other people is to always start with the basic assumption that people are ultimately responsible for their own behavior. But of course, recognizing this doesn’t negate the need for grace. On the contrary it convinces us of the need for grace. Everytime we go to confession or as we approach the chalice we take responsibilty for our behavior…or at least we try to.