Accountability doesn't have to be a lost virtue

By now you've heard and read all about the Stanford University student Brock Turner - who happened to be an accomplished swimmer - who raped an unconscious woman after a party behind a trash dumpster early last year. If you haven't, then I'm sure what I just typed sickened your stomach just a little. I hate to add to your discomfort, but his trial just ended and the judge sentenced him to only 6 months in jail because he believed that a prison sentence "would have a severe impact on him." Only 6 months for raping and abusing an unconscious young woman who had no way of defending herself. Wow.

I do no not want to dive into the details of this case because they are disturbing to recall and they are out there for anyone to see with just a little research. You can also find what Brock's father said to the court, almost excusing the actions of his son and quite possibly suggesting that our justice system was depriving him of having the fun life that he's worked so hard for. All the while Turner has admitted to drinking that night in question, yet he has never admitted any fault in the attack that he says was consensual in nature.

If your blood is boiling, join the crowd. The failure of any sort of justice in this instance can lead us to all sorts of conclusions and finger pointing: A corrupt judge who is a graduate of Stanford himself; a privileged student who used influence and money to escape blame; even a justice system that favors the status of elite whites over that of underprivileged minorities. All of these make a compelling argument. But the one area that is most glaring to me is the lack of accountability taken on by the accused and now convicted young man and his family.

It's not my fault. It really isn't a big deal. He/She is just as responsible. This isn't fair, I didn't do anything wrong. Why should I have to take all the blame? You can't do this - I've got big plans for the future and you are ruining them for me.

On and on the excuses go when we refuse to accept responsibility for our actions. Yes, being held accountable means that there are consequences we must face and penalties we have to pay. That's part of life. Yet somewhere along the way it's become acceptable and even fashionable to embrace an assumed plausible deniability in order to avoid any negative consequences for our poor choices.

Your. Poor. Choices. That's right, when you make a bad decision, that decision is yours to own, not mine or anyone else around you. I hate it when I make a bad decision and have to suffer the consequences. It's at those times I wish I could find a scapegoat to pass the buck to, yet I realize that in the end I have to own it. We all do. And when we see such graphic examples of those who seem to get away without accepting the responsibility and blame for their own actions, it brings out the most visceral of reactions in us.

While we are all to be held accountable for our decisions, there is someone out there who is willing to take the blame for all of the bad decisions that you have made. His name is Jesus. He didn't come to get you off the hook of serving your deserved sentence here on earth for your poor choices, but He did make a way for you to receive forgiveness that lasts for eternity. When He died on that cross those many years ago, He did so to forgive your sins and mine. Not to cover up your responsibility for the sins that you've done, but rather to pay the eternity penalty that you could never hope to pay by yourself.

Let's face it - our actions here on earth have consequences. If you are a parent, you have the responsibility and obligation to teach that to your own children. This is gonna hurt me more than it's gonna hurt you! couldn't be any more true or needed than it is today. And begin by taking a look at your own life and how you handle your own mistakes. Own them. Confess them. Accept the consequences. And then look to Jesus not only for forgiveness but for a better way to live and make your future decisions.

1 comment:

Sue Harkrader said...

I agree with everything you posted. When the judge said no prison because it would damage him he certainly didn't consider the damage he had done to his victim. If he had not come a privileged family, an elite family and a great swimmer he would be not have gotten off with what amounts to a slap on the hand. Yes my blood boils too��

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