Personal Responsibility or “The Devil made me do it!”

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Back in the early 1970’s, Flip Wilson’s comedic abilities were really starting to shine and with his NBC TV comedy show, “The Flip Wilson Show” his comedic mastery became a hit across America. He won a Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Television Series and the show was nominated for 11 Emmys during its run and won two of them, Best Variety Show and for Best Writing In A Variety Show. Of the many memorable characters that he portrayed on his show, the one that I remember most and was most impressed with Wilson’s ability to create and perform, is his Geraldine Jones character.

Wilson wrote the material for his Geraldine Jones character and created her as an honest outspoken woman who expected respect as she was flirty and flashy yet devoted to her never seen boyfriend named, Killer. Geraldine Jones was, “What you see is what you get, honey!” as one of her famous catch phrases stated. One thing that she wasn’t however was one to take responsibility for her actions as she often would say, “The devil made me do it!” to account for the various very funny things she had done and or said.

Now when Flip Wilson as his character, Geraldine Jones would say, “The devil made me do it!” it would crack me up as well as get my family to laughing so loud and hard. Flip Wilson was very funny and had great comedic timing, total control of his creative voices and actions when in character. Flip Wilson was a master comedian and every up and coming comedian (many who think they are now included) needs to take lessons from his works. Flip Wilson was oh so very funny and clean funny too.

Geraldine Jones’ saying “The devil made me do it!” was fiction. Each skit that Flip Wilson created for this character (and his other characters) was his comedic mastery at work. His performance was again his comedic mastery at work yet still pure fiction and so very funny.

Contrast the comedic mastery of Flip Wilson to the reality of today where so many people live their lives without taking responsibility for their actions. Through their placing blame on anything else around them and by their lack of action, thoughtless actions, half action, inconsiderate action or over reaction, many people push off their own personal responsibility of to somewhere or someone or something else. This lack of taking personal responsibility then snowballs not only for that one person, but bleeds into other people’s lives as well in a number of ways. Look at the huge corporate head’s greed and also the people who purchased houses knowing that they could not afford them as just two examples.

Taking personal responsibility for one’s actions is a choice. A person chooses to take personal responsibility or not. For someone to not take personal responsibility for his/her actions, statements, financial situation, health, hygiene, work status, home status, sexual status, etc. is for that person to be committing a sin and it will lead him/her to further self destruction if the person doesn’t take responsibility for his/her actions. For example, the lack of a large number of people taking personal responsibility (along with greed) has caused the recession that we are currently in here in the United States. More examples of lack of personal responsibility being taken is displayed with the abundance of sexual activity accounting for vast sexual transmitted diseases, unplanned babies, teenage pregnancy and abortion. The list can go on and on and on…

From man’s first sin when Adam ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which stood in the garden of Eden, man (and woman) also displayed our inclination to not take personal responsibility for his actions. Genesis 3:12-13 The man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

Why do people not take personal responsibility for the things that they do? Many things come to mind and I’m sure you can think of many of them too. The primary reason for people not taking personal responsibility for the things that they do is; their selfishness.

Selfishness was what caused Adam and Eve (the first man and woman, husband and wife) to not only eat the from the forbidden tree so that they could be like God, having the knowledge of good and evil, it was also selfishness which caused them each to not take personal responsibility for eating the forbidden fruit. Through their selfishness they disobeyed God’s request of them to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Through their selfishness they did not take personal responsibility for their actions because they thought that they would be able to “pass” their responsibility to a “cause” outside of their own personal responsibility so to hopefully “escape” any punishment coming to them from God for the choices that they made.

Did not taking personal responsibility for their actions work for Adam and Eve? No, it did not. As we know, God kept to His word. Genesis 3:16-19 To the woman He [God] said, "I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you." Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, `You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. "Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return."

Just as both Adam and Eve were responsible for each of their actions, each and every one of us is responsible for our individual actions. Not taking personal responsibility for ones actions stems from a person’s selfishness. A person’s selfishness if followed leads that person to sin and destruction. Nothing good results from someone not taking personal responsibility for his/her actions. Eventually, if not sooner, not taking personal responsibility for your actions will destroy you as the longer you do not take personal responsibility for your actions, the further you delude yourself into self destruction.

It is your choice to be personally responsible for all of what you do so that you not only help yourself be a better overall person who can feel good about yourself but to also help be a positive role model for others so to help them become personally responsible for their actions. Through your actions you exhibit to others who you are and by your taking personal responsibility for your actions, you are exhibiting to others that you are a mature person no matter how old you are. Taking personal responsibility for your actions is needed even when you know that there is some sort of punishment for your actions. It is better to confess your actions than to falsely deny them and then it be disc
overed that you not only did it but you also lied about it too.

Philippians 2:1-11 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Ezra 10:4 – Arise! For this matter is your responsibility,

Again, it comes down to a choice that you have to make. What kind of person you are comes from the choices you make. It isn’t bright of someone to make stupid choices because of lack of the person taking personal responsibility for their actions. I suggest that with the choices you make that you take personal responsibility and make a wise choice.

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