G.K. Chesterton was a man I would like to have met. This British journalist had a voracious appetite and weighed nearly 300 pounds. He was also a heavyweight in the literary world. He had a keen grasp of human nature and a sharp tongue which often cut to the bone. When a magazine ran an article entitled, “What’s Wrong with the World?” Chesterton responded. He told them what’s wrong with the world in two words. His reply, “I am,” and signed it, “Yours truly, G. K. Chesterton.” Wow! Chesterton was big more ways than one because it isn’t easy to say, “What’s wrong with the world is me!”
Avoiding personal responsibility isn’t something new. In the Garden, Adam begged off responsibility, pointing a finger at Eve as he explained, “She gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate from it.” Yes, Adam, blame your wife. Wives blame husbands, too. Husbands blame their bosses, and we all find ourselves placing responsibility for personal failure on someone else.
A certain Mafia boss had a deaf man working for him, and the boss figured out that the deaf man was skimming the cash so he had another person sign the warning that if he didn’t tell where the stolen money was hidden, he would blow him away. When given the warning, the man signed back saying, “You tell the boss that the money is hidden under the big tree across the railroad tracks just outside of town.” The boss calls in the man who delivered the message and says, “OK, where did he say the money is hidden?” The interpreter says, “He says that he’ll never, never tell so go ahead and finish him off.”
It’s refreshing to hear someone such as G. K. Chesterton say, “I am what’s wrong with the world.” God said that a long time ago. Isaiah said, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Paul, the theologian of the New Testament, didn’t waste words talking about why we can’t help what we do because we are victims of society or because of a lack of proper family connections, or whatever. He said simply, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “All” is pretty conclusive.
What’s right about recognizing you have been wrong? Plenty. Only when a person acknowledges failure and sin is there hope that it can be forgiven and overcome. Acknowledging responsibility is the key to becoming a different person.
The Bible says, “’Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool’” (Isaiah 1:18). Recognizing and admitting that you are wrong is the key to getting it right. God never forgives the person who refuses to acknowledge wrongdoing.
The matter of personal accountability is not only what’s wrong with society; it’s also what’s wrong with families. If you are in a relationship which is falling apart, try saying, “Look, what’s wrong with our relationship is me, and I want you to forgive me for what I’ve done.” That’s the key to turning things around—with God, with our mates, and with our fellow man.
There’s one more thing which needs to be said, and it is powerful, too. It is a little known insight which makes a difference, a large one. With our confession followed by God’s forgiveness comes His help and strength to get on top of a situation which previously has controlled us. It’s the promise of Scripture which says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). With that purging and cleansing comes healing and wholeness. Yes, Chesterton was right. What’s wrong with the world is me!
Resource Reading: 1 John 1
Text: “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – December 4, 2017