Responsibility without accountability is…irresponsible

Written by BG Howard

November 22, 2023

It seems that people have been tasked with the ever-demanding quest to “move forward” in life and continue on a path of unequaled achievement from the earliest possible moments of existence. Most of society would term that as growth, development or maturity. From the time an infant first begins to utter sounds, he or she is coaxed and encouraged to formulate words. Ultimately, the effort to aid in the child’s evolution fosters the art of speech. As such, similarly is the process of crawling, standing, and eventually walking.

As creation’s most intelligent being, man often purports his ability to think, rationalize and reason which extends to a level far beyond any other animal’s instinctive behaviors. Enormous intellectual accomplishments have been achieved in every aspect of life ranging from space travel to monumental discoveries in the fields of medical science and robotics.

However, the more man “matures,” the more he seems to be absent any sense of accountability for his actions. Everyone wants the freedom to make choices and, in essence, decide their fate. Unfortunately, when this responsibility is assigned to an individual at the stage of life they are seen as being “grown” or having achieved “adulthood,” it also goes hand in hand with evoking an accountability factor.

Merriam-Webster defines responsibility as “the quality or state of being responsible: such as (a): moral, legal, or mental accountability (b): reliability, trustworthiness” whereas accountability is “the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions – public officials lacking accountability.”

These two terms, it would seem, go hand-in-hand; that you can’t feasibly have one without the other. Unfortunately, that train of thought is becoming less and less popular during this era of “make it someone else’s fault.” In short, everyone wants the freedom to make their own choices but ultimately seek to hold someone else accountable when things don’t work out as planned.

It’s amazing how often a person wants to exercise the right to make a decision but will instantly fault another party when faced with the unpopular assessment of accountability. The phrases “If it hadn’t been for…” and “I would have, but…” must be two of the most uttered statements aimed at ushering in explanations for countless failed attempts encompassing virtually every aspect of human life.

Ironically, when there’s no one else to whom accountability can be assigned, people will invariably resort to attributing their wrongdoings to the actions of the One who can do no wrong. God ultimately proves the scapegoat for whatever decisions otherwise vigilant individuals might make that don’t provide the anticipated result they would have preferred.

The grant of “free will” is readily accepted and truly appreciated when one considers, alternatively, being a marionette controlled by an omnipotent Creator. It’s widely understood by true believers that God, through sometimes misunderstood means, exhibits more concern for the spiritual well-being of His creation than is displayed by the creation itself. However, people somehow end up blaming Him when having to deal with the consequences of their choices. Even when those decisions are made without consulting the Lord as directed in Proverbs 3:6 (KJV) of the bible: “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Although created in the express image of God, it is rather troubling that man finds little solace in the fact that the Father’s only requirement is obeisance. Instead, people are determined to live life their way but often seek to blame the Lord because there’s a consequence to actions not commensurate with His divine order. Even still, some refuse to acknowledge the existence of God but don’t have an issue blaming Him when their choices result with them taking the route of failure.

As stated on a number of previous occasions; life consists of three “C’s.” Any individual has the right to exercise the freedom of choice. But he or she should understand they will either enjoy the resulting celebration or suffer the associated consequences. A mature person accepts any accountability that accompanies the responsibility for which he or she claims ownership.

Most every “so-called” level headed individual in today’s society, and many who aren’t, will adamantly establish their right to say what they want, do what they want, and live however they want. Today’s culture has taken on an attitude altogether alien when compared to generations past. By design, few people want to be bound, committed or obligated to the concept of a higher moral standard. The difficulty with living a life without guidelines lies in the fact that a lack of accountability will ultimately result in what this world seems to be quickly becoming…one absent the very essence of morality. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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