Many years ago, during faith formation in my parish, one of the children wrote something that wasn’t very nice on a textbook that belonged to someone else. Being the pastoral associate that oversaw the program, I began the investigation immediately. Slowly I began eliminating suspects until it became obvious who the perpetrator was. He denied he was the one, but after much pressure he broke down and confessed. Of course, I derived no satisfaction from finding out the culprit. Of course, it was my own son.
My son didn’t want to come clean because he naturally feared what I would say and do when I found out. He also knew that our pastor would find out as well. He felt accountable for his actions and that made it very difficult for him. He realized he let himself, others that loved him, and God down. It was a lesson learned that wasn’t much fun to go through. What I was grateful for was the fact that he felt the weight of what he had done. If he hadn’t, things would have been very different.
That was a long time ago and when I reflect on it, I think about how often we all do things we regret and then have to face the consequences. But that’s what being accountable is all about. We are accountable to those we love, to our neighbor, and to our God. When we begin to slide into a worldview that focuses too much on ourselves, we can easily make decisions that hurt others. We must always seek to do what is good in the eyes of God and that respects others. When we are children this is easier said than done. Alright, let’s be honest—it isn’t always so easy as adults either.
—Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS