Throwback Thursday: The Price of Negligence

This week I am blessed to be attending the She Speaks Conference, so I am sharing some gems from the past couple years. Praise God He takes away every single one of our sins through His precious Son, Jesus Christ!

Photo Credit thecounselingnetwork.org
Photo Credit
thecounselingnetwork.org

Leviticus 5:1

“When a person sins in that he hears a public curse against one who fails to testify and he is a witness (he either saw or knew what had happened) and he does not make it known, then he will bear his punishment for iniquity.”

Leviticus 5:5

“When an individual becomes guilty with regard to one of these things he must confess how he has sinned.”

Leviticus 5:17

“If a person sins and violates any of the LORD’s commandments which must not be violated (although he did not know it at the time, but later realizes he is guilty), then he will bear his punishment for iniquity.”

I love how reading passages over and over again there is always something to glean from God’s Word! Leviticus is often thought of as being dry and a lot of jargon about offerings and prescriptions for dealing with sin. It couldn’t apply to us today, could it?  As a mother of five children, I have often heard the expression, “I didn’t know”, or “I forgot”, or “It was an accident”.  What strikes me in the verses above is that there are no excuses given for the offender’s lack of knowledge of their own transgression.  Instead, there is a prescribed solution, and the One to whom we are accountable paid it.  We cannot take care of our sinour way, though.  It must be in accordance with the One with Whom we will give an account.  While it is difficult for our generation to understand the slaughtering of animals for the propitiation of our sins, both for known and unknown sin, we have the same sins going on today and the same excuses.  Acknowledging our shortcomings is just as necessary and required by our Holy God.

We are good at making excuses for ourselves in this generation, but the idea of the scapegoat has been around a long time.  In Hebrew, the word scapegoat is Saʿir La-ʿazaʾzel, (one interpretation is “a goat for Azazel”, which means strong God).  This refers to a goat being used to bear the sins of Israel during the ritual of Yom Kippur.  The scapegoat has been used in most cultures, ironically.  Whether the goat was sacrificed or set free to bear all of the iniquities, it did not have a choice – it was chosen to take away the people’s sin.

Mankind recognizes it has a need to have sin dealt with, if we are honest with ourselves.  But we often create our own solutions as to how to remedy our sinful status.  We can also come up with excuses, rationalize or placate our guilt.  Maybe the standards were to high, or maybe someone else is responsible or to blame. But not in God’s economy. No fig leaf is sufficient to cover our shame or guilt and redefining our guilt to make ourselves feel better really doesn’t.  We still need covering for our hidden and known sins today, but we do not have a scapegoat – we have the Lamb – who chose to bear all of our sins.

Recently, I became aware of negligence in an area of my life.  It was hidden from me in that I did not recognize it as sin, just an inability.  Becoming aware of something as sin is not fun and we can easily dismiss it as maybe we are not talented in a certain area or lack understanding.  It can be easier to avoid it rather than face accountability.  Maybe it is not a sin, after all.  But once I are aware, I am culpable.  No more ignorance to hide behind.  Although it is difficult to have to work on those areas of our character that are challenging for us, we cannot pretend any longer that we do not know.  We must instead ask God to help and to strengthen us in our areas of weakness.

I am grateful that God exposes our sins.  He does so to free us.  The deeper we go, the more unrighteous we may appear, but cooperating with the Holy Spirit when He illumines our hidden sins, which we often couch as inabilities or habits that are a part of our personality, is ultimate victory.  True, we each have our own unique challenges in our perspective walks with God, but He is sufficient to help each of us in our time of need.

Thank You, Lord, for lifting the veil so we could see and gain access to You.  Thank You for Your grace and love, which always seeks to rid us of the cancer of sin and draw us nearer to You.  Praise Your Name!

Thinking Biblically in the Politics of Life

Photo Credits: rafik-rafikresponde.blogspot.com

Photo Credits:
rafik-rafikresponde.blogspot.com

 

 

Mark 14:56

“Many gave false testimony against him, but their testimony did not agree.”

Mark 15:3-5

3 “Then the chief priest began to accuse him repeatedly. 4 So Pilate asked him again, “Have you nothing to say?  See how many charges they are bringing against you.”  But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.”

I have been thinking about politics lately.  Not the ongoing rhetoric back and forth between political candidates, but the politics of life everywhere around us.

Manners and expectations of behavior are taught to us before we can speak and are a thread throughout civilized society.  We cannot escape at some point in our lives someone trying to define us.  It might be accurate and there might be truth in their analysis, but more often than not the scrutiny is false testimony, formed by sanitized motives of jealousy, bitterness, or a desire to control.

Peer pressure is not just for children in school.  It is politics at an early stage and is prevalent at all ages in the unspoken pressure to conform to the perceptions or behavior of people around us.  In church, in families, in any group, politics are among us.  As a leader, a follower, or in our relationships, a subtle influence tries to convince our behavior to be “correct” to another person’s expectations.

When others find fault in us, in humility we should consider their complaints.  As a leader, there will be many suggestions regarding how we lead.  Politics come into play in a benign way.  People might be offering input to improve and to help.  Their intentions might be pure, but when we do not choose to go with their suggestion, motives can become transparent and it just might be that they want things to be done their way.

Servant leadership considers first the principle of pleasing God and then what is best for the ones you are leading.   It is impossible to please everyone and you will not be leading to do so.  Jesus was surrounded by politics himself.  People who thought he should conduct his ministry in a different way offered advice.  People who were convicted by Him offered false testimony and maybe even began to believe it themselves.

Sometimes politics come about because of victimhood, which is commonplace today.  It makes sense to the flesh.  If we can blame someone else for our mistakes and be surrounded by people giving us attention because of what someone else supposedly did to us, we are not culpable.  Or are we?

Blaming others is man’s way of trying to glorify self and manipulate for something we want.  It is trying to make our sin okay.  (I am this way because . . .)  Jesus saw this in those who surrounded Him, and He offered truth.  He did not answer combatively.  He did not meet their demands, either.

We all have been players in the game of politics.  We have judged other’s according to our own vantage point or been the recipient of said judgment.  At the root of underlying politics is a needy people, searching for something or someone to meet the needs of our empty soul; trying to find life in things which were never meant to give us life.  Godliness with contentment is great gain.  Whatever position we are in, whatever wrongs were done to us in this life, we can choose to be a grateful people and not push others around us into a mold for our own gain.

It hurts when people we love assign us a place based on their perception, which might be rooted in their unmet desire.  But the most freeing moment came to me the other day when I sensed judgment.  While I wanted the opportunity to shed light and to share truth to clear up the false perception, the LORD nudged my heart and asked me, “is it biblical?”  No, their pressure upon me was not based on something unbiblical in my life.  Nor was their manner or complaint biblical.  It was based on their unmet desire and their persistence to apply pressure upon me to acquiesce to them – it was controlling.  “Let it go” was spoken to my spirit.

But what if I have been unbiblical in my behavior?  Does that mean I should be shunned or dismissed?  No.  It means I am filled with thankfulness that I can see my shortcomings and thank God for showing me.  It means I can throw myself upon his mercies and find forgiveness.

Teachability is not living for man’s acceptance.  Introspection is not obsessively analyzing ourselves for perfection.  We will never arrive.  We are not accountable to people’s perceptions of us – only accountable to the truth and to God’s evaluation of us.  Throughout our lives, politics will abound, but thinking biblically sets us free.  Free to love others where they are at and to not impose our own politics, either.  We are also no longer bound by man-made rules or trying to make ourselves fit into someone else’s agenda.  Sure, people will still talk and people will still try to put us in a box, but through Christ we are free.

Lord, thank You for opening our eyes to see the freedom we have in You.  Thank you for understanding and insight and for Your abounding mercy which never fails when we are the ones at fault.

Would I Lie to You? (The deceitfulness of sin)

The-Power-of-Sin

Hebrews 3:13
You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.

I was inducting my youngest son into the biblical symbolism in the movie “Lord of the Rings”, when suddenly he casually said, “Mom, why do they want the ring if it does that to them?” How wise beyond his years, and yet he did not fully comprehend his own question. What if we saw sin as it really was, undressed and not sensationalized? What if we knew the effects of cherishing something so vile? What if we recognized sin in our lives instead of rationalizing it away? But sin is deceitful.

The ring represents sin, which will destroy us unless we do so first. Frodo, the protagonist of the film was not able to destroy it, either. But God sovereignly used someone who intended evil (Gollum) for good and only He, God alone, could destroy sin and its power.

Sin tantalizes its victims with the hope of gaining power, and yet instead subdues and destroys the owner. Oh, but sin looks so attractive and is so often concealed. We do not recognize it in every day life and its destructive power. It is laced with frosting, while underneath is a deadly cake.

So how do we avoid falling victim to sin’s seduction? The Word of God and prayer. We are blind and cannot see, lest the Lord opens our eyes. The Word of God is a mirror and reveals our hearts, if we seek truth via an exegetical study versus an eisegetical approach. In another words, we cannot approach God’s word trying to make our ideas fit randomly into Scripture taken out of context.

We also need one another. As a mother, I see worldliness creeping into our churches and our homes. Giving in or doing nothing is doing something – permitting sin to weave its way into our hearts. We need to be accountable to one another in an age of intense social media and we have to take a stand against sin and be different in an day where sin is praised and bragged about. Talking about the temptations and being aware of them can be a great step toward being free from sin’s entrapment.

Lord, help us to be aware of sin in our lives and to surrender to you instead of the sin. Give us strength to persevere and abstain from that which destroys our soul.