Thursday, June 04, 2015

You Can't Blame Anyone Else

Something worth pointing out and letting it sink in within the community of believers (and some application to those who do not believe). This has been on my mind quite a while, and it's especially important for parents, children, families, etc. I've had some experience with all three. 
People will let you down. Me included. It's a fallen world, and we all are fallen human beings. Even the "best" of us. I wish most sincerely I could go back and fix every error I ever made, every time I didn't live up to what I say I believe, every time I hurt someone. I can't. All I can do is ask God for forgiveness first because He is the ultimate offended party, and then ask those whom I've hurt for it. I can't erase the past no matter how much I might want to erase it. That is one comforting thing about the central truth of Christianity—saved by grace through faith. I thank the One who paid the price for my sins and who cleanses me of all unrighteousness. 
However. (And you knew there was a however coming, didn't you?) We tend to blame other people for our own sins and lack of faith and obedience to the Lord. If we grew up as children in a Christian family and our parents or believing family members let us down, that's our excuse for not walking with the Lord. If we're not believers ourselves, often our excuse is to point at those who are and say, "Look at them! They're no better than anyone else! Hypocrites!" How often have I heard that through the years. 
News flash. When you stand before God yourself, you will not be able to point at anyone else and what they did (or didn't do) as a way to squirm out of your own accountability. God will be interested in what YOU have done. That is not to say He won't hold others accountable for things they did. He most certainly will. But you will not be able to say "My parents/relatives/friends/ were a horrible example and witness, so this God business is a bunch of bunk and I'm going to live the way I want to live. So there!" It will be you and God alone, and you will be asked about your own life. For those who grew up knowing and hearing the truth, and rejected it, the judgment will be all the more severe. 
I know I have stumbled. I continue to stumble, and as long as I'm living in this body of flesh, I will continue to stumble. Please forgive me when I do. But I won't give up the fight, and my desire is to live godly in Christ Jesus. I'm not going to throw my faith into the garbage can and habitually live an ungodly life just because some fellow believers may have failed me. My Christian life is all about being conformed over time by the power of the Holy Spirit into the image of Christ. Being TRANSFORMED. Having my MIND and way of thinking renewed to where it matches His. Viewing things the way He views them. Showing the same mercy and grace He shows me. Living a LIFE of repentance. Waiting eagerly for the day when this body of flesh will be left behind and I will be in His presence - the day positional sanctification becomes complete. Glorification. 
One more thing. Parents and caregivers need to remember this one. Children must have faith of their own. They will not be saved because of your faith, or through your relationship with God. They can go to church, youth group, summer camps, missions trips until the cows come home, and be no nearer to heaven than the most distant atheist. They must have their own real, personal, saving faith in Christ. You must set the example and teach the lessons. Point the way to the bread. But the child has to personally interact with the Lord and deal with their own sin problem. You can't do it for them. I'd love to see my entire family saved and walking with the Lord. But I can't force it to happen, nor is it ultimately my responsibility. Just don't be a stumbling block.

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