My rule of integrity for these blogs is to never call out someone (except the devil) and verbally criticize or castigate for something done or not done. These little missives are meant to be thought-stirring opportunities, not barbecuing of someone with whom I may have a disagreement.
That said, I read an article online recently which moved some deep feelings within me. Since my information source was out in the public media, I have little struggle deciding to actually name a name with a view towards some amount of vilification. This is a case of once again someone engaging in a destructive behavior only to point the finger at another person, or several other persons, as if this terrible way of life was forced upon the plaintiff against his or her will.
Ben Affleck is an actor who has appeared in some large-budget films, and is fairly well known among the glitterati. He, like many in entertainment, is no fan at all of the current presidential administration. His complaint is the Trump presidency has caused him to become an alcoholic.
So much for taking even a shred of responsibility.
Affleck drinks to excess, winds up with a classic case of inebriation, then foists the blame on President Trump, the idea being if Trump were not president, then Affleck would not be drinking alcohol to excess.
Baloney. Or, for the purists, bologna.
The first president of whom I was aware was Dwight Eisenhower. That means I have lived through Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush the elder, Clinton, Bush the younger, Obama and now Trump. Several of those took political stands I found personally repugnant, especially after I made it to 18 years of age and given the privilege to vote. I confess I held Obama in much the same general political contempt as many do of Trump, but however and whatever my feelings were, nothing Obama did “forced” me to adopt a certain destructive behavior. I am not an addict, a drunk, a thief or pimp because Obama won a little over eight years ago and was sworn in as President of the United States.
If Ben Affleck is under the control of alcohol, then there is only one person in all of the creation of whom it is said he can blame for his excessive consumption, and that person is…Ben Affleck. His reason, that Trump has made him into a drunk, is nothing more than typical secular shifting of responsibility. No one shoulders the weight for their actions; it is always time to point the finger at someone else, to appear to be lily-white and complain that another ought to be culpable for the errant behavior. Some other celebrity said she cannot sleep soundly at night because Trump is the chief executive. I felt Obama was nothing more than a puppet leader, giving away the integrity and the standing of the United States to a globalist agenda, and I managed to replicate the sound of a misfiring tractor as I slept, night after night.
Taking responsibility means admitting the probability of having made a mistake, of having committed a sin. So much easier it is to avoid saying anything about being a sinner, instead seeking the scapegoat on whom to lay all the fault. In fairness, Affleck and the rest of the Hollywood population are not the only ones to dodge taking the blame for having done (or not done) something. In the early pages of Genesis, Cain sets the model for being a responsibility avoider (his mother and father actually were the prototypes, but he didn’t come along until much later in their lives). Ever since then, people have done their level best to ensure they are not fingered as having done an evil or sinful act so that God or anyone else can and will be blamed. Recently an acquaintance was involved in a traffic accident where the other person ran a stop sign and smacked the friend’s car. But here in Kansas, traffic mishaps fall under “no-fault” laws, so the inattentive stop-sign runner, who is really fully responsible for the smash-up, does not have to bear any “fault” for what he did.
Christians who try to blame others for their failings miss out on what it is to be responsible and mature. The day will come when every believer will give account to God (2 Corinthians 10:5), including a review of each and every time there was a human attempt to shirk the responsibility for one’s actions. This sidestep called “it’s not my fault” – whether voiced by a believer or a non-believer — carries no weight when it comes to God’s all-encompassing knowledge. Ezekiel 18:4 says the one who sins will be the one who is held responsible for the sin (paraphrase). There’s not going to be the finger-pointing as there was in the Garden of Eden, here Adam blamed both the woman and God for giving him the woman, the woman blamed the serpent, and the serpent would have probably tried to shift culpability except the Creator had the snake “dead to rights”.
Non-believers, though, will not be given the opportunity to do the blame-shift thing when it comes to judgment. Revelation 20:11-15 points out how God will judge those folks on one issue alone — whether their names are in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and when it is not there, it will not matter who they try to blame for not being saved, they will find themselves in an eternity of beyond awful for having made excuses for not coming to faith in Christ.
It does not matter who sits in the Oval Office, or is part of the Senate or the House, or the governor’s mansion, the state legislature or the county commission for weed abatement. None of those folks can willfully and deliberately force anyone to do anything. Even the devil his slimy and heinous self cannot force a person into some form of action or behavior. If you take a course of action, the only place to point the finger is back at self when it comes to bearing the weight of responsibility. Jesus came to set people free — free from the lies and the blame-shifting — free to accept responsibility and grow from it. Keep hiding under the bushel basket of everyone else to blame and before too long, the heart will become so hard and resistant there will be no response to the loving overtures of the Holy Spirit. That, in the words of the playwright, is trouble, trouble, terrible trouble.
Ben Affleck is making excuses and showing great irresponsibility blaming someone else because he is in the grip of addiction to alcohol. That’s true for anyone. If someone dies without Christ and faces an eternity in hell, it won’t be the fault of the neighbor or friend or sports celebrity. There will be no one else to blame. That’s a hard, hard way to learn the cost of personal responsibility.