"And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free.
He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you."
This seems a little scary... I think because somewhere in all of this, even though we want freedom and the ability to do whatever we want... we don't often want the responsibility for our own actions. We want to put it all back on God, or anyone besides ourselves, and claim that something in our parentage or our environment, or any other real or imagined influences... those are to blame. Those are the things that made us who we are, that are responsible for our choices, etc. Because if it were us, of course, we wouldn't be so far from the ideal. :)
The truth is though, that no matter how we justify or whine, it all comes back to us. We are responsible for the people that we are... for the things that we do, the choices that we make. And that is both amazingly scary, and just plain amazing. There is so much potential there, to be anything that we want to be... to become so much more than we are. To learn and grow and become... the person we've always wanted to be. Like the people we look up to and admire. Even like God. To be *that* cool... to walk in that direction and catch shards of that kind of kindness, that kind of knowledge, wisdom, leadership. So much potential. And on the other side, so much negative potential too. I think it is interesting that the verse says "whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself." Seems like there is a lot of truth in that. No matter who the bad action is directed at, when we do it, it lands squarely on our own heads... changing us and making us into people that are more likely to do similar things again. And in the end, all of our choices will come back to us, as parts of ourselves... who we've taught ourselves to be. At that point, we can't throw our choices back on God, or our parents, or our society, and say that we didn't really have a choice... they forced us to be this way. We have a choice, we always do. God gave us that freedom... and who we are is a result of all of those choices that we've made. Who we will be tomorrow, and at the judgment day, will be a result of the choices that we make today and into the future. Today, let's take our choices seriously. Let's do good, and become good. Let's choose life, and make it into what we want it to be.