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Rewarding Irresponsible Behavior

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."1

It seems, at least here in the U.S.A., that our society is plagued by frivolous lawsuits. A man sued MacDonald's because he spilled hot coffee on himself—the coffee that he purchased! I have read that another man sued his company because he backed into his own car with a company vehicle. In student days in Chicago for two summers I drove a CTA passenger bus. We were informed that some passengers would purposely fall so they could sue the bus company.

I was listening to the news last night and once again I could hardly believe what I heard. A woman whose husband was a heavy smoker all his life died so she sued a well-known tobacco company for three billion dollars (yes, three billion) and ended up being awarded $50,000,000.00. Talk about the blame-game! Why judges and courts reward irresponsible behavior is beyond my comprehension.

Don't misunderstand me. I am not justifying the tobacco company in any way, shape or form. They are responsible too, but this man in question chose to smoke, just as the alcoholic chooses to drink. Both of these men are fully responsible for their irresponsible actions.

And when we who are codependents take responsibility for over-dependent family members and short circuit the natural consequences of their irresponsible behavior, we too, are being irresponsible. And when we, as parents, don't discipline our children for their irresponsible behavior, we, too are being irresponsible and are guilty of reinforcing their negative behavior.

The same is true of societies as with driving on roads and highways. Irresponsible driving kills people. Irresponsible living destroys societies. From the cradle to the grave, responsibility (with consequences for irresponsible behavior) needs to be taught and adhered to. Among the richest to the poorest …from the lowliest positions to the highest offices in the land—including in the courts and with judges, ministers, politicians, lawyers and every other profession—responsibility needs to be taught, emphasized and enforced, without which we end up with mayhem and ultimately destroying ourselves.

True, while I was not responsible for my upbringing, as an adult I am fully responsible for what I become and for everything I do. And unless one is mentally handicapped, we are all fully responsible for what we allow and what we do that is within our capability.

Furthermore, before God we are also responsible and, in the end, will have to give an account to him for how we have lived, what we have done with our life, and whether or not we have confessed our sinfulness and accepted God's gift of forgiveness through his Son, Jesus Christ.*

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to accept personal responsibility for every area of my life and so live that I will not be ashamed or embarrassed (or grief stricken) when I stand before you to give an account of my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."

1. 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NIV).

*Note: To ensure that you have received God's forgiveness for all your sins be sure to read the article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at:


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.