Monday, June 12, 2017
“Ain’t you got no raisin?” is a familiar question remembered by folks my age. Of course, when our parents or grandparents asked that question, they did it because we were guilty of actions of our own choosing, rather than being obedient to their instructions.
I’ve had my share of spankings while growing up. Yes, I knew right from wrong. When I did things which I wasn’t supposed to do, I knew I was going to be in trouble if I got caught. I weighed the risks with the rewards and like most thought the end justified the path chosen. Regret was written all over them! But, you can’t take it back. You say, “I’m sorry,” grab your ankles, and grit your teeth because you know judgment is coming! How many of you were corrected once and then never made a wrong choice again?
Why do we (children and adults) mess up? We aren’t stupid nor ignorant. We know what is right or wrong, yet we still make the wrong choices even if we have to face our consequences. Why do we make up excuses to justify our actions when we know it is only wishful thinking? Do we think the repercussions will be less than expected, so it’s okay to proceed? Do we convince ourselves that we have no other choice, so we must make the wrong one? We know it is impossible to hide our sins from God, yet we proceed as if He is blind! Does any of this sound familiar?
Peter told Jesus, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you!” However, before the rooster could crow, Peter denied Jesus three times, sealing it with cursing and swearing (Matthew 26:74). Why? Jesus told him he was going to do. He denied it. Then he did it! Why? What causes a disciple, an apostle, to deny Jesus three times with cursing and swearing? We wouldn’t do anything like that, would we? It’s a common path that is easier to follow than most will admit. Does any of this sound familiar?
Pilate was warned by his wife to have nothing to do with Jesus (Matthew 27:19). Pilate found no Roman law broken by Jesus that would merit death (Mark 15:14; Luke 23:4). He was willing and tried to release Jesus (John 18:29; Luke 23:20). He had the authority to do so, but not the backbone! He washed his hands of responsibility and surrendered to the demands of a rowdy crowd (Matthew 27:24). Yet, he still provided his soldiers to carry out the punishment rather than allow the Jewish stoning! His position of control was jeopardized so he chose job over Jesus. How many times have we dismissed our responsibility with a hand washing? Does any of this sound familiar?
Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for a few coins. Surely, he had learned something that stuck with him in three and a half years? Didn’t he realize his mistake? He seemed to be on the right path by returning the money and confessed his error (Matthew 27:4). Why kill himself? If Jesus accepted Peter back, would he not also accept Judas? No one forced him to put a rope around his neck. Judas wasn’t ignorant of God’s law. Why did he choose that path? Why do people do drastic things when they don’t have to? Does any of this sound familiar?
Some may think Paul was almost perfect. He wasn’t. He admitted he was chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). He said that “sin . . . produced in me every kind of covetous desire” (Romans 7:8). Paul included himself when he wrote, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Does any of this sound familiar?
We are all sinners. Faith in Jesus isn’t a magic garment we put on and miraculously sin no more. Perfection is an elusive shadow that is desired but never captured. We may put on our Sunday best, and smile as though everything is perfect in our world, but it isn’t. We still do what we shouldn’t. We still ask why we did it. Paul discussed this malady in Romans 7. Sin can either transport you to hell or drive you to Jesus. Your choice! Jesus is the answer to our sin problem. He is the only one who can make you complete and give you a righteous standing before God the Father. You and I need Jesus as our solution!
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Who do you belong to?