Denial of Responsibility |
"Suffering is related to guilt in a general way, though each individual who suffers is not individually guilty. World suffering and world crisis are also related to guilt, and guilt needs reparations, or the righting of wrongs.
Our modern world very seldom thinks of the relationship of a world crisis to guilt. The modern world practically ignores guilt as responsibility for the violation of a moral law. A man who disobeys one of God's physical laws, for example, that he should eat to live, after four or five days suffers a headache. It is just as vain to deny that the breaking of moral laws has consequences as to deny that the breaking of physical laws produces certain effects. Unfortunately, many live amidst crises, trials, cold wars, and political disorders without any sense of guilt. They fail to see a connection between what is happening in the world order and the way we live, think, and move. This denial of responsibility reminds us of a husband and wife who went to the doctor. The doctor asked the husband. 'What is wrong with you, sir?'
He said, 'I eat too many cherries.'
The wife said, 'At the bottom of cocktail glasses.'
As he blamed the sickness on cherries and not on alcohol, so too many in our modern world forget that perhaps our world headache may be due to the way we have conducted ourselves before our fellowman and before God rather than to our political cherries.
An analogy is to be found among the egotists and the selfish, whom nobody seems to like. Failing to see that their egotism has alienated their neighbor, they accuse their neighbor of being antisocial. Instead of looking into their own hearts, they disclaim responsibility for their self-centeredness and place the blame, perhaps on halitosis. They try using chlorophyl for thirty days, but they are still unpopular. They never shoulder the guilt of egotism, which alone would lead to a more generous attitude to others. Of such people it has been said, 'They have no enemies, all their friends hate them.'
Nations, too, can get in the habit of denying that their trials, the hatred of other nations, and their insecurity may be related to their moral failings. It is too superficial a justification for any nation to blame another for its crises.
Granted now that nations as well as individuals can violate God's laws, it follows that the evil that brings us to the tragic predicament must be expiated. Greek drama and all the great philosophies of the East and West are full of the idea that guilt must be atoned for. There is no British God, no American God. God is the Father of all men, and His Lordship is exercised over all history. God's Will and man's will are interlocked in every heart and in every nation. When man's will rebels against God's Will, man creates a tragic situation, which in the person is a sense of guilt and in the community of nations, a crisis. Our tragedy today is due basically to human will opposing the Divine Will."