Barber Taking some of the credit

How many times have you heard someone give thanks to the Lord or to someone else for the good fortune that they’ve received? Well I hear it a lot, especially when things are going well. For example, I was sitting in the barber’s chair talking to my barber. He is a middle-aged man with a great sense of humor and incredible memory. It wasn’t long after I started using this barber that he found out that I used to be a narcotics detective. He quickly related to me that he had been arrested for using methamphetamine. That was when he was a young man. He told me that while being sentenced by a judge, the judge said he (the barber) was the kind of man that should go to pray at the judge’s church. He did so and he found the Lord. I’ve heard this story many times from people who had been arrested for different crimes and then turn their lives around to be great citizens and good family people.
On this day he again mentioned that he had done time, but he praise the Lord for his position of being the owner of the barbershop in town. He was happily married, and life seem to be treating him well. This time after hearing the story I told him that he should also take some of the credit for his good life. I told him that he also deserves credit as it was his decision that made him turn around his life.
I don’t mean to say that the influence of the Lord does not makes people think about the choices in life. Indeed, religions who praise the Lord, no matter what the religion is, gives inspiration to those people who find themselves in dark places and hard times. The words are the scriptures that are recited usually are full of good beliefs and actions. But after a person reads those words and listens to preachers, rabbis or other religious leaders, it is up to them to take the advice. I am more impressed with the person who had made bad choices and then turn their life around with good choices. I am less impressed with the man or woman who continually goes to and supports a religion as just something they need to do as part of the community. For example, have you ever been to a church and you have pledged a percentage of your income each week to help the church, mosque or temple only to be continually asked to give more money. There’s always some new project that the leaders of the church want to take on. After a while, I would think you would start wondering if the leadership of the church are interested in following the teachings or more interested in being recognized for going to underserved countries with a variety of different programs. After a while, I think the well goes dry. Is it not enough that you already attend and support that religion? Of those people that regularly attend most of followed the teachings of the religion. But the leaders of the church or the religion seem to constantly want more money not particularly more followers.
Back to the barber, I am glad that he feels the presence of the Lord and that he appreciates the guidance that the Lord presents. But I think he should take more credit for following that advice and showing in deeds and actions that the advice is good. He is the kind of example that does inspire others to follow those teachings. The people who have for years sat in the third row and given enough money to the organization to have a building or bench named after them, are not bad people but do not particularly inspiring. It’s almost like there is a pecking order in the church and the people they give the most money is at the top. There are some churches that have deacons or other non-clergy people set up with the minister as the teachings of the religion are given. As much as I’m sure they give to the church for positive reasons, it also appears like their setting on high and looking down upon the rest were looking up.
There are a lot of people who give the credit of their good fortune to their mom or their dad. Some give credit to people like the teacher or their coach. I think it is nice that those people are mentioned and given thanks. But it is the individual that makes the decisions and the actions they get them to where they’re at. There’s no shame in taking credit for the successes and the good deeds done by oneself. When I hear someone giving all the credit to someone else it makes me think that everything is preordained and planned out we before they’re born. I do not believe that. I think that each of us make the decision on which path to take. Even if we take the wrong path we can make a change in that direction. If we keep giving credit to others for what we do, then we also don’t take responsibility for the things that we do.
My thought for today is that people need to take credit, good or bad, for the things that they do in the choices they make. Quit blaming somebody else or something else for the mistakes you made. You made the mistake, you can also repair the mistake. I find it particularly offensive when someone is arrested for sexual abuse of a child and then turn around and blame it on bad parenting when they were young. I find it offensive that a rapist will blame everything and everybody else for his actions and expect the rest of the world to understand.
I know about situation ethics which can be used to explain almost any action taken. But it’s the individual that takes that action. The fact that one was bullied as a child doesn’t mean that they can bully or beat others when they grow up. The fact that your parents use to drink and drive does not mean you should.
To get off the negative, I think people like my barber, who started off on the wrong path and then turned his life around, is a great and good citizen and should not only thank the Lord. He should be proud of himself for it is he who followed the advice of the Lord.
There’s nothing wrong with thanking those people that influenced your life but is you who has taken that influence and made the decisions you made. Be proud of who you are. Don’t blame others for some your decisions that were wrong. But don’t be ashamed of taking credit from the good decisions you made.

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