J.C. Derrick – Extreme Ownership

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, June 8th,  2020. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. WORLD Radio’s J.C. Derrick now with some thoughts on taking responsibility, extremely.

J.C. DERRICK, MANAGING EDITOR: I’m currently listening to an audiobook called Extreme Ownership. Two former Navy SEALS wrote the book based on leadership lessons they learned during combat operations in Iraq. 

It’s a riveting read. I find myself almost holding my breath as they recount stories of dangerous, complex operations in an urban environment. Mistake one building for another, one street for another, and you might attack your comrades instead of your enemy—and the authors recount numerous close calls. 

The key idea is this: Rather than give in to human nature and blame others, take responsibility. All of it. Take responsibility for your team, your performance, for communicating up and down the chain of command. And most of all, take responsibility when something goes wrong.  

Authors Jocko Willink and Leif Babin apply this principle to business, which makes sense. But I keep wondering what would happen if we did this in every area of our lives. 

What would happen if we took responsibility for the problems in our marriages, rather than blaming our spouses? What would happen if we took full responsibility for our life choices, rather than blaming our parents, or the circumstances of our childhood?  

And, yes, what would happen if we took responsibility for our own part of America’s racial strife? It’s an obvious connection right now, but no less important. What if?

Last week, my pastor, Mark Davis, preached an excellent sermon along these lines. He made the point that, as Christians, we must always see our primary identity as children of God. Not black or white. Not Democrat or Republican. I can’t see myself first as a Texan, even though it’s a big part of my identity. 

But, Mark said from that place of identity in Christ, we must speak and engage on these cultural issues. We don’t get to take a pass. 

Of course, the question is how. Well, the most important thing we can do is pray. As Russell Moore recently wrote—quote—“Civil religion cannot get us out of this, and social-media politics surely can’t. We will need consciences made alive by the Spirit of God and determined to do what is right.” End quote. 

That aligns with Paul’s words in Ephesians 6: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

It doesn’t take moral courage to condemn destructive riots, virtue signaling, or the many ill-conceived proposals floating around. What’s much harder is offering a better way. 

The question is: Will we? The Bible commands us to mourn with those who mourn. But will we take other first steps, like speaking up when someone tells a racist joke? Will we commit to build a new friendship or read one of the race relations books Marvin Olasky recently recommended on this program? Will we read a book like Trillia Newbell’s God’s Very Good Idea to our children? 

In other words, will we take ownership? Or, as peace returns, will we use the idea of colorblindness as an excuse to do nothing? 

May God illuminate and convict as appropriate. And may He redeem recent events in a powerful way. 

I’m J.C. Derrick.


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