“Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. (Genesis 16:6)
As much as Abraham (aka Abram) was a godly man who revered the Lord, he also was a bit of a weasel. Rather than honestly addressing situations, he took the easy way out. One such situation was the birth of his first son, Ishmael.
Ishmael was not the son of promise that Isaac would be. In fact, Ishmael was a result of a lack of trust in God’s promises. Born through his wife’s maidservant, Hagar, Ishmael was an instant outcast in the family. Sarah was jealous of her maidservant’s pregnancy, so she griped to Abraham about the situation. Abraham, who did the impregnating, had an opportunity to take responsibility for the situation and to provide solid leadership to his family. Instead of doing so, he passed the buck on to Sarah.
Abraham’s negligence and refusal to step up to take responsibility led Ishmael to become the father of the Muslim people and the seemingly unceasing conflict that now exists between Muslims and Jews. What might the outcome have been if Abraham had stepped in and told Sarah that they weren’t going to treat Ishmael or Hagar any differently? What if he had actually led his family instead of sitting on the sidelines?
When we refuse to take responsibility for our lives, someone else has to pick up the mess that we’ve created.
The next time you’re tempted to pass the buck on to someone else, have the courage to take responsibility for your actions.
Lord, it’s so easy to try to weasel my way out of those things for which I am responsible. Give me the courage to take responsibility for the things I’ve done, and give me the wisdom to know how to move forward.