Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"Responsibility" Elaborated

So what do you think of when you consider the word "responsibility"?

"Dread" came to my mind, until my friend, Maggie Ritchie, drew my attention to one of the many (somewhat unorthodox) thoughts developed by William Young in The Shack:

To God, "responsibility" is not a stony noun intended to lay the foundation for guilt, shame, and judgment. "Responsibility" is alive and dynamic and full of possibilities. If it is correct to think that God has given us a "responsibility", that only means that He has given us the "ability" to "respond". How cool is that!?! ... to be empowered,... to have the ability and freedom to respond in this way, or that way, or not at all. Of course different choices lead to different places, but God's love remains steadfast. Having not earned His unfathomable love in the first place, it never diminishes. So, if we ever feel burdened by a sense of "responsibility", then we are missing the point. And inasmuch as God cares most about the heart, it is better to do nothing at all (and instead pause and reflect) than to pridefully "do the right thing" with a grumbling, begrudging attitude. With the growth of our understanding of God's love,... what He has done for us,... and the freedom He has granted us, this all gets reconciled and resolved, as penned by John Newton (who also wrote Amazing Grace):

Our pleasure and our duty,
Though opposite before;
Since we have seen His beauty,
Are joined to part no more:
It is our highest pleasure,
No less than duty’s call;
To love Him beyond measure,
And serve Him with our all.

That what was once seemed a burdensome "responsibility" might become a great joy and privilege to be celebrated!