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Personal Responsibility by Frank Kotowski

In my faith, Spiritualism, I often go back to our 7th Principle, which concerns personal responsibility:

We affirm the moral responsibility of individuals and that we make our own happiness or unhappiness as we obey or disobey Nature’s physical and spiritual laws.

There is a lot to this Principle.  For Spiritualists, it pertains to both your life here on Earth and your spiritual life beyond in the afterlife. But how far does personal responsibility go?  When is there an ethical imperative to give yourself up for another person?  Does this include others who may have very different views from yourself and may even hate you?  No easy answers.
     My mind swims with a multitude of scenarios of personal responsibility and what the outcomes might be.  If we make our own happiness as we align with Nature's physical and spiritual laws, which are God's law, does this lesson our painful experiences?  Perhaps not.  Can we both happy and also filled with pain?  Perhaps.  If you are in extreme pain from physical ailments but have the realization that this pain was caused by you taking actions that saved the lives of your family members, perhaps you can still be happy, at least happy for them.
     Do you always sacrifice your life for another who is in danger of losing theirs?  What if the death of the other person guarantees the safety of countless others?
     Maybe I'm just overthinking this thing called personal responsibility.  Most of us do the best we can with our sense of personal responsibility.  Life is messy. When you are lead by your heart rather than by your mind, you will most often be on the correct path.


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