My buddy David has a stressful job. He is the leader of a hyper-dysfunctional non-profit organization. A major dimension of the dysfunction has to do with the fact that David’s predecessor was fired, but the predecessor refuses to step down. Moreover, the predecessor is extremely upset about David being named the successor, and subsequently David has had to flee for his life and live as a nomad in the wilderness (like Usāmah bin Laden).
David’s predecessor controls the media, so the prevailing popular narrative weaves a tale of David as public enemy, and the primary person to blame (for all our sundry scapegoating desires). This “blame-David” narrative is the most favored and widely-accepted; however there’s a group of approximately 400 men who are distressed, in debt, and bitter in soul who have opted to join David in the wilderness.
Which brings me to the theme of RESPONSIBILITY. When I first heard about my friend’s situation, I wasn’t surprised to hear that he was weathering the tempest of the blame-narrative (his predecessor’s petulant track record made that an assured assumption), but I didn’t imagine he’d be juggling a myriad of massive responsibilities! For instance, David instantly inherited 400 embittered, in-debt, and distressed misfits looking to him for leadership! On top of that, David has to make arrangements for his aging parents amidst all of this political tension and turmoil! Then, David’s predecessor carries out genocide on an entire city because he suspects they have provided aid to David, and one citizen of this city escapes and runs to David for refuge; whereupon David says, “I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your city. Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.” As I ponder my friend’s situation, I marvel at how he so extravagantly bears the blame and assumes responsibility!
And that’s just the first part of Act One!
The second part of Act One in this saga of bearing blame and taking responsibility opens with my friend David being told about how some people in a nearby town are being attacked by bad guys. David has A LOT on his plate already, but David’s Boss tells him to, “Go and attack the bad guys, and save the townspeople!” The embittered, in-debt, distressed misfits who rallied to David in the first part of Act One express serious concerns about this decision to get involved in a war; they say, “This is irresponsible! We are already stretched thin and running scared, we just don’t have the bandwidth or bravery to go off gallivanting to fight an army of bad guys and saving townspeople in distress!” David was resonating with their concerns, so he went back to his Boss to double-check if these orders were negotiable. David’s Boss said, “Go do it!” So David and the misfits go save the town, and massacre the bad guys!
Unfortunately, this is the kind of thing people tweet about, and thus David’s petulant predecessor received fresh intel on David’s whereabouts, and he deployed all his armed forces to converge on the town! David asked his Boss if the townspeople would protect him from his bloodthirsty predecessor, and David’s Boss said, “Nope, they’re gonna betray you!”
And we haven’t even reached Act Two yet!
Bottom line, this theme of bearing blame and assuming responsibility finds its fulfillment and culmination in my buddy David’s great great great great great great… grandson (see 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 3:14; 2 Corinthians 8:9).