Strategies for Seeing Anew #20

…towards embracing responsibility

An example from a Primary classroom
An example from a Secondary classroom

What does this mean?

Behaviour is sometimes blamed on our genes or our environment and this can lead to an implicit or explicit assumption that: ‘It’s not my fault’. Without denying the influence of genetics or environment, Christianity maintains that we are responsible for the decisions we make, though in some situations our choice and responsibility is reduced. Christians believe that the gift of freedom to choose was given at creation but weakened by sin, so that it is now harder to make good choices. St Augustine likened it to balance scales where the pan labelled ‘Bad Decisions’ is loaded. The scales still work but they are biased. This bias can be corrected by God’s grace – his love and help. Throughout the Bible people are called to make right choices with God’s help (Joshua 24:15; Matthew 7:13). "Enter through the narrow gate," Jesus urged, "For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it" (Matthew 7:13).

Ultimately people are called to account before God, which assumes a degree of responsibility for making choices (Romans 14:12). If people had no capacity for making choices, they would not be responsible.
Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals. Albert Schweitzer
God never forces men to act against their wills. By workings of outward providence or of inward grace, the Lord may change men's minds, but He will not coerce a human being into thoughts, words or actions. Walter J. Chantry
This section is about moving towards embracing responsibility. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from refusing to take responsibility for actions or from a more general lack of connection between actions and consequences?

What does this mean in school?

In school, teaching and learning can be organised in a way that gives students responsibility and allows them to make choices within the planned framework set by the teacher.
  • We can give responsibility to students and hold them to account for the choices they make. We can give students responsible choices to make in their learning.
  • In a variety of subjects students can explore how free or determined characters' choices were and what alternatives could have been chosen. Examples of both more and less free choices can be used.
  • Freedom and determinism can be explored and the influences on behaviour can be explored in science – but also, for instance, in literature.
Have you experienced people denying responsibility and blaming it on circumstances or the way they are made? Could they have made different choices? Identify a lesson/unit where you could highlight issues of choice and responsibility, for example in history or in English.
 
More ways of seeing anew
Next way of seeing anew
 
1Joshua called the tribes of Israel together for a meeting at Shechem. He made the leaders, including the old men, the judges, and the officials, come up and stand near the sacred tent. 2Then Joshua told everyone to listen to this message from the Lord , the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors lived on the other side of the River Euphrates, and they worshipped other gods. This continued until the time of your ancestor Terah and his two sons, Abraham and Nahor. 3But I brought Abraham across the River Euphrates and led him through the land of Canaan. I blessed him by giving him Isaac, the first in a line of many descendants. 4Then I gave Isaac two sons, Jacob and Esau. I let Esau live in the hill country of Mount Seir, but your ancestor Jacob and his children went to live in Egypt. 5Later I sent Moses and his brother Aaron to help your people, and I made all those horrible things happen to the Egyptians. I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, but the Egyptians got in their chariots and on their horses and chased your ancestors, catching up with them at the Red Sea. 7Your people cried to me for help, so I put a dark cloud between them and the Egyptians. Then I opened up the sea and let your people walk across on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, I commanded the sea to swallow them, and they drowned while you watched. You lived in the desert for a long time, 8then I brought you into the land east of the River Jordan. The Amorites were living there, and they fought you. But with my help, you defeated them, wiped them out, and took their land. 9King Balak decided that his nation Moab would go to war against you, so he asked Balaam to come and put a curse on you. 10But I wouldn't listen to Balaam, and I rescued you by making him bless you instead of curse you. 11You crossed the River Jordan and came to Jericho. The rulers of Jericho fought you, and so did the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. I helped you defeat them all. 12Your enemies ran from you, but not because you had swords and bows and arrows. I made your enemies panic and run away, as I had done with the two Amorite kings east of the River Jordan. 13You didn't have to work for this landI gave it to you. Now you live in towns you didn't build, and you eat grapes and olives from vineyards and trees you didn't plant. 14Then Joshua told the people: Worship the Lord , obey him, and always be faithful. Get rid of the idols your ancestors worshipped when they lived on the other side of the River Euphrates and in Egypt. 15But if you don't want to worship the Lord , then choose now! Will you worship the same idols your ancestors did? Or since you're living on land that once belonged to the Amorites, perhaps you'll worship their gods. I won't. My family and I are going to worship and obey the Lord ! 16The people answered: We could never worship other gods or stop worshipping the Lord . 17The Lord is our God. We were slaves in Egypt as our ancestors had been, but we saw the Lord work miracles to set our people free and to bring us out of Egypt. Even though other nations were all around us, the Lord protected us wherever we went. 18And when we fought the Amorites and the other nations that lived in this land, the Lord made them run away. Yes, we will worship and obey the Lord , because the Lord is our God. 19Joshua said: The Lord is fearsome; he is the one true God, and I don't think you are able to worship and obey him in the ways he demands. You would have to be completely faithful, and if you sin or rebel, he won't let you get away with it. 20If you turn your backs on the Lord and worship the gods of other nations, the Lord will turn against you. He will make terrible things happen to you and wipe you out, even though he had been good to you before. 21But the people shouted, We won't worship any other gods. We will worship and obey only the Lord ! 22Joshua said, You have heard yourselves say that you will worship and obey the Lord . Isn't that true? Yes, it's true, they answered. 23Joshua said, But you still have some idols, like those the other nations worship. Get rid of your idols! You must decide once and for all that you really want to obey the Lord God of Israel. 24The people said, The Lord is our God, and we will worship and obey only him. 25Joshua helped Israel make an agreement with the Lord that day at Shechem. Joshua made laws for Israel 26and wrote them down in The Book of the Law of Godbk*. Then he set up a large stone under the oak tree at the place of worship in Shechem 27and told the people, Look at this stone. It has heard everything that the Lord has said to us. Our God can call this stone as a witness if we ever reject him. 28Joshua sent everyone back to their homes. Joshua, Joseph, and Eleazar are buried 29Not long afterwards, the Lord 's servant Joshua died at the age of one hundred and ten. 30The Israelites buried him in his own land at Timnath-Serah, north of Mount Gaash in the hill country of Ephraim. 31As long as Joshua lived, Israel worshipped and obeyed the Lord . There were other leaders old enough to remember everything that the Lord had done for Israel. And for as long as these men lived, Israel continued to worship and obey the Lord . 32When the people of Israel left Egypt, they brought the bones of Joseph along with them. They took the bones to the town of Shechem and buried them in the field that Jacob had bought for one hundred pieces of silver from Hamor, the founder of Shechem. The town and the field both became part of the land belonging to the descendants of Joseph. 33When Eleazar the priest died, he was buried in the hill country of Ephraim on a hill that belonged to his son Phinehas.
1Don't condemn others, and God won't condemn you. 2God will be as hard on you as you are on others! He will treat you exactly as you treat them. 3You can see the speck in your friend's eye, but you don't notice the log in your own eye. 4How can you say, My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye, when you don't see the log in your own eye? 5You're nothing but show-offs! First, take the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend's eye. 6Don't give to dogs what belongs to God. They will only turn and attack you. Don't throw pearls down in front of pigs. They will trample all over them. Ask, search, knock (Luke 11.9-13) Jesus continued: 7Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. 9Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? 10Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? 11As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask. 12Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the Law and the Prophets are all about. The narrow gate (Luke 13.24) Jesus continued: 13Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. 14But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it. A tree and its fruit (Luke 6.43-45) Jesus continued: 15Watch out for false prophets! They dress up like sheep, but inside they are wolves who have come to attack you. 16You can tell what they are by what they do. No one picks grapes or figs from thorn bushes. 17A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 19Every tree that produces bad fruit will be chopped down and burnt. 20You can tell who the false prophets are by their deeds. A warning (Luke 13.26,27) Jesus continued: 21Not everyone who calls me their Lord will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only the ones who obey my Father in heaven will get in. 22On the day of judgment many will call me their Lord. They will say, We preached in your name, and in your name we forced out demons and performed many miracles. 23But I will tell them, I will have nothing to do with you! Get out of my sight, you evil people! Two builders (Luke 6.47-49) Jesus continued: 24Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. 25Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock. 26Anyone who hears my teachings and doesn't obey them is like a foolish person who built a house on sand. 27The rain poured down, the rivers flooded, and the winds blew and beat against that house. Finally, it fell with a crash. 28When Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were surprised at his teaching. 29He taught them like someone with authority, and not like their teachers of the Law of Moses. Jesus heals a man (Mark 1.40-45; Luke 5.12-16)
1Don't condemn others, and God won't condemn you. 2God will be as hard on you as you are on others! He will treat you exactly as you treat them. 3You can see the speck in your friend's eye, but you don't notice the log in your own eye. 4How can you say, My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye, when you don't see the log in your own eye? 5You're nothing but show-offs! First, take the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend's eye. 6Don't give to dogs what belongs to God. They will only turn and attack you. Don't throw pearls down in front of pigs. They will trample all over them. Ask, search, knock (Luke 11.9-13) Jesus continued: 7Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. 9Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? 10Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? 11As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask. 12Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the Law and the Prophets are all about. The narrow gate (Luke 13.24) Jesus continued: 13Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. 14But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it. A tree and its fruit (Luke 6.43-45) Jesus continued: 15Watch out for false prophets! They dress up like sheep, but inside they are wolves who have come to attack you. 16You can tell what they are by what they do. No one picks grapes or figs from thorn bushes. 17A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 19Every tree that produces bad fruit will be chopped down and burnt. 20You can tell who the false prophets are by their deeds. A warning (Luke 13.26,27) Jesus continued: 21Not everyone who calls me their Lord will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only the ones who obey my Father in heaven will get in. 22On the day of judgment many will call me their Lord. They will say, We preached in your name, and in your name we forced out demons and performed many miracles. 23But I will tell them, I will have nothing to do with you! Get out of my sight, you evil people! Two builders (Luke 6.47-49) Jesus continued: 24Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. 25Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock. 26Anyone who hears my teachings and doesn't obey them is like a foolish person who built a house on sand. 27The rain poured down, the rivers flooded, and the winds blew and beat against that house. Finally, it fell with a crash. 28When Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were surprised at his teaching. 29He taught them like someone with authority, and not like their teachers of the Law of Moses. Jesus heals a man (Mark 1.40-45; Luke 5.12-16)
1Welcome all the Lord's followers, even those whose faith is weak. Don't criticize them for having beliefs that are different from yours. 2Some think it is all right to eat anything, while those whose faith is weak will eat only vegetables. 3But you should not criticize others for eating or for not eating. After all, God welcomes everyone. 4What right do you have to criticize someone else's servants? Only their Lord can decide if they are doing right, and the Lord will make sure that they do right. 5Some of the Lord's followers think one day is more important than another. Others think all days are the same. But each of you should make up your own mind. 6Any followers who count one day more important than another day do it to honour their Lord. And any followers who eat meat give thanks to God, just like the ones who don't eat meat. 7Whether we live or die, it must be for God, rather than for ourselves. 8Whether we live or die, it must be for the Lord. Alive or dead, we still belong to the Lord. 9This is because Christ died and rose to life, so that he would be the Lord of the dead and of the living. 10Why do you criticize other followers of the Lord? Why do you look down on them? The day is coming when God will judge all of us. 11In the Scriptures God says, I swear by my very life that everyone will kneel down and praise my name! 12And so, each of us must give an account to God for what we do. Don't cause problems for others 13We must stop judging others. We must also make up our minds not to upset anyone's faith. 14The Lord Jesus has made it clear to me that God considers all foods fit to eat. But if you think some foods are unfit to eat, then for you they are not fit. 15If you are hurting others by the foods you eat, you are not guided by love. Don't let your appetite destroy someone Christ died for. 16Don't let your right to eat bring shame to Christ. 17God's kingdom isn't about eating and drinking. It is about pleasing God, about living in peace, and about true happiness. All this comes from the Holy Spirit. 18If you serve Christ in this way, you will please God and be respected by people. 19We should try to live at peace and help each other have a strong faith. 20Don't let your appetite destroy what God has done. All foods are fit to eat, but it is wrong to cause problems for others by what you eat. 21It is best not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that causes problems for other followers of the Lord. 22What you believe about these things should be kept between you and God. You are fortunate, if your actions don't make you have doubts. 23But if you do have doubts about what you eat, you are going against your beliefs. And you know that is wrong, because anything you do against your beliefs is sin. Please others and not yourself