We, the Lame

July 22, 2015

We, the Lame

Hebrew 12:13
And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

Have you ever had a broken leg, a dislocated joint or wrenched knee or ankle? When you find yourself in this condition, you find that walking normally is out of the question. There is too much pain and tenderness to walk in a normal way. This is the way we are when we get out of joint in our walk with the Lord. Our spiritual health and harmony are interrupted and our walk with Him becomes crippled and distorted.
I think many of us have areas in our lives where we experience some lameness; an area that is out of joint with God’s will and purpose for our lives. The Lord doesn’t want us to walk in a crooked and twisted path, but in a straight and narrow one. It is like Jesus says in Matthew 7:14, “Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” I would venture to say that most of us have found ourselves off of that straight and narrow more times than we would like to admit. How wonderful that through repentance and the power of the blood of Jesus we have a means to be restored to the path of righteousness.
It is sin that cripples us and makes us lame. It is sin that distorts our spiritual health and wholeness. There are many that are still struggling with strongholds of sin in their lives. While they feel condemned and defeated, they can’t seem to get delivered and free from it. We often make the mistake of judging others in an area of weakness while we may have another area in us that is just as bad. We are all creatures of God’s grace and mercy. We didn’t find our way to Him because our works were righteous and we were so much better than everyone else. Like everyone else, we are sinners saved by the grace of God. That same faith with which we embraced Christ when we first gave our hearts to Him is what we must now exercise as we make straight paths for our feet.
There is something wrong with us as a body of Christ when we are more concerned about judging one another for our faults than we are with ministering to one another in our weaknesses. What does James 5:16 say? “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” We all have weaknesses and faults that we have not fully gained the victory over or that we are still struggling with. Where are our ministry, compassion and prayers for one another in our weaknesses? We desperately try and conceal our faults and weaknesses, either because we are in denial or just think it is our problem, but more likely because we don’t have a safe place where we can expose and share the sins with which we struggle. Jesus says it is not the well that need a physician, but the sick. The Christ in each one of us is the physician that wants to minister help and healing to those around us. We need each other to help each other. Our sin would always cripple us and dislocate us from the Lord, but the Lord wants to heal our lameness and restore us in a path of righteousness for His namesake. The Lord doesn’t want us to justify and cover over our sin, that would be hypocrisy, but He does want to see us healed in the areas of our sin sickness.
We want to see Isaiah 35 come to pass in each one of our lives, “The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. 3 Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” 5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. 7 The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. 8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. 9 No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
The Lord is on the side of our restoration and wholeness, but it takes our willingness to forsake our sin. Perhaps we need to seek out those who will stand with us and help us to lay hold of our victory and healing in the areas where sin has held us captive and crippled our walk. We are a body and we must minister to one another’s needs. We need one another to minister and help each other in all of the areas that pertain to life and godliness. Corporately, we are growing up in Christ, ministering to one another out of the gifts that the Holy Spirit has apportioned to each one of us. Ephesians 4:16-18 says,” Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work..”
If you are lame in an area of your walk with the Lord, then find your healing and deliverance so that your path may be made straight. If it is greater than your ability to find the victory then seek out those in the body of Christ who can come along beside you, give you help, prayer and accountability. It is the Lord’s will to restore the lame.

Blessings,
#kent

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Stop, Look and Listen

April 3, 2015

John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

Stop, Look and Listen

Take just a moment to stop, close your eyes and listen to your life. Do you know how desensitized we become to the noises that are all around us? We can do the same thing with the people around us. We become so focused on life, routines and demands that we don’t take the time to stop and really listen to life and the people around us. We hear and respond on a superficial level, but what we need is to step back and watch our life for a moment as an outside observer or as that proverbial fly on the wall? What do we observe and hear there that we don’t really process in every day life? What are the kids really saying, what are their attitudes, their hearts and their greatest needs? What about our spouse, so much of our responses to one another have become cliché and the same way we continue to deal with the same old issues? What we need is a fresh perspective, a new and different point of view. I often wondered if we just video taped our lives for a day or two and watched them if we would see things in ourselves that we are totally oblivious too. We would probably be able to see how we really are to live with. Being immersed in our family and daily life it is often hard for us to really be objective of ourselves and our relationship with others. Sometimes it takes a traumatic event in our lives to really shock us into taking a long hard look at who we are, what we are and how our lives impact others in either a positive or negative sense. Usually one of the best mirrors that we have is our spouse, because they see us as we really are, they live with us and they can often see things in us much better than we can see them ourselves. Of course what happens when they talk to us about these things? We get defensive, we start trying to divert the responsibility, accountability and our shortcomings by identifying there’s or finding excuses for ourselves.
In order for God to change who I am I first have to acknowledge who I am, where I am weak and where I fail. This is our sensitive and vulnerable side and it is an area that we are not willing to easily open up. When we do open ourselves up to scrutiny and examination we want to be able to trust those that we share our true heart and selves with. We all have our darker sides, our ugly sides and weak sides. We generally try and hide these from public view and we tend to want to ignore them ourselves, but they are there none the less. We need a loving spouse or those that really love us and care about us to be able to put our heart in their hands to tenderly show us who we are. Often we live in denial of who we really are in areas of our life. Darkness, ignorance, denial are only areas where corruption grows. It is in the light that things are brought into the open, acknowledged for what they are and dealt with in the light of God’s word and truth. The thing we must be so careful of is that we are not the ones to set in judgement of another. Luke 6: 37 tells us, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” We are all sinners, capable of every vile thing outside of the grace and righteousness of Christ that indwells us.
Close your eyes, take time to really listen and reflect on your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you those areas where He wants you to yield to Him. He does it a little at a time. I am convinced if the Holy Spirit ever really showed us all that was in us in the light of His holiness we would be so devastated and hopeless we might never recover. God often has to take us through hard things to really show what is in our hearts, how much easier if we can come to Him with the willingness to be corrected, transformed and changed. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” As we draw near to God, we will come to Him not in our goodness or righteousness, but with humility, brokenness and repentance. In this heart attitude is where He will meet with us to lovingly correct us, deal with us and heal us. When we comprehend His compassion and love for us even in our state of ugliness and sin, it should work in us a true heart of compassion and caring for others and mercy should triumph over judgement. Take time listen. Ask the Holy Spirit to open up you spiritual eyes and ears to really hear and observe by the Spirit how He see the these things pertaining to your life. John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.”

Blessings,
#kent

Shine a Diamond

January 28, 2015

Shine a Diamond

Romans 14:19
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

We live in a very negative world in a lot of respects. Life is often taking twist and turns that can bring us discouragement and despair. Many around us only know how to speak death. They, like many of us, can become cynical, skeptical and suspicious in a world that is always seeking to exploit us in one manner or another. It is hard for us to be real, even with one another, for fear that someone will take opportunity in our vulnerability and openness to hurt us or will despise and not respect us because of some weakness that we allow them to see in us. As a result we become individual sealed houses, our own little islands in some respects, keeping a certain amount of distance and aloofness so that we won’t be hurt. Certainly we have to be careful about who we share the more intimate parts of our lives with. Jesus gives the warning in Matthew 7:6, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” As it is with the holy and precious things of God, so it is with the matters of our heart. We need to really know the character of those we share our hearts with. If the love of God is truly operating within them, then they understand the grace that not only they have been given, but that which they must extend to others. God wants us to cover one another’s nakedness, not expose it, gossip about it or despise them for it. He wants us to be a people that can truly edify and build up one another. We need to have that place and safety to truly confess our sins and faults to one another without fear of rejection and judgment. James 5:16 tells us, “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Does that mean we condone whatever sin someone shares or confesses to us? No, we can’t because then we would share complicity with their sin. The reason for sharing our sins or faults with one another is for repentance, support, help in our weaknesses and restoration of our fellowship with God and one another. If we share our faults with one another it shouldn’t be for approval, neither should it be for judgment but our response to another’s faults should be that of humility and love, knowing that we are also weak and vulnerable to sin. Galatians 6:1 teaches us, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” You see we are not one another’s judges, but we are one another’s watchmen. We watch out for one another, because we are of the same body and share the same common faith and purpose, to glorify the Lord. It can be easy for any of us to become distracted and turn aside or grow complacent concerning our faith. This is why it is so important for us as the body of Christ to have personal friendships and relationships with others in the body, not just for fellowship, but also for accountability. We need to be speaking life into one another to build each other up in who we are in Christ. We need to pray for one another and exhort one another, always stirring up faith. A healthy body is one in which individual members and cells are ministering health and blessing into those around them. The words that we speak into one another’s lives should be for building up and not tearing down, even if they must be honest, direct and hard words, the motive behind them should always be love. Sometimes, like Paul, we must tear down to build up, but what are our motives and the end of what we do?
Are you and I the brush that polishes the diamonds of the Lord? Are we causing others to shine in His glory and come forth in the image of who they are in Christ? Remember that the power of death and life are in the tongue. Our actions and our tongue can make or destroy another’s life. Let our lives and our ministry be for building up and not for tearing down, for edifying and not for condemning. You are your brother’s keeper and he is yours. Let us honor and seek to bring forth the Christ in each other. Speak life, hope and blessing into someone today and let it become your lifestyle. Shine a diamond!

Blessings,
#kent

If a Tree has Leaves, does it have Fruit?

Matthew 21:18-19
18Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

A fruit tree is expected to produce fruit after its kind. A Christian is expected to produce fruit after their kind.
The fig tree in this story is said to represent Israel. The person coming from the outside might enter a city like Jerusalem and see it flourishing. They could go to the temple and see it full of activity and religious men walking about it and throughout the city. Jesus teaches us here that just because a tree has leaves and looks healthy doesn’t mean that it is fruitful. If it is a fruit tree that appears healthy and yet produces no fruit, it is failing in its purpose in life. Just like Israel, if we appear to be the people of God, have all of the churches and religious services, but do not bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit, then we too are barren. We are missing our purpose. Our purpose is to not bear healthy looking leaves, but to produce fruit in the way God has purposed us to do. No amount of leaves or trappings can hide that.
Adam and Eve used leaves to hide their nakedness and we often do the same; hiding the shame of a life that is void of fruitfulness, but full of activity. Jesus says in John 15:1-8, “”I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5″I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” We are taught here that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. He doesn’t tell us that our function is to produce leaves, but to produce fruit. Leaves are a support and facilitator for the fruit, but they can never take the place of the fruit; they are like faith and works, they go together.
Jesus gave us many examples where He shows us that we have responsibility and accountability for His life in us. If we take and receive the life of Christ in us, then live our lives only for ourselves we are a fruitless tree or branch. We are to bear fruit so that others might be partakers of the life of Christ and be nourished through what He is imparted to us.
The fruit of the Spirit spoken of in Galatians 5:22-23 are, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This fruit operating in our lives will allow us to be fruitful in the gifts and abilities that God has given each of us for our ministry and calling.
One day the Lord will examine our tree or our branch. We have responsibility for what it is bearing. If we are truly abiding in the vine then we will be producing the fruit and not just the leaves. It is important that we judge ourselves that we be not judged. How fruitful is our tree?

Blessings,
#kent

Neglect

May 28, 2014

Neglect

Ephesians 5:21
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Does your mind every wander back over the years of your life and you wonder, in retrospect, what you might have done differently to make them even, better, more productive and more loving.
It occurs to me that I will never regret not yelling or being angry with my wife more, but I may well regret the time and attention I neglected to give her. I’ll never regret the times I spent playing with my kids or grandkids and the special memories they created, but I may well regret all of the times I was to busy or involved to take the time with them. Neglect is often something we are not even aware of when it is happening. Usually we have sufficient other priorities to justify it when it is taking place.
In life the most beautiful and productive gardens are those that are constantly tended with a loving hand. Hours are spent watering, fertilizing, planting, pruning, pulling weeds, spraying for insects and all the things that make for a beautiful garden. Will you and I regret that we didn’t spend more time in our gardens nurturing the human relationships that God has allowed in our lives? Will we even remember, what it was, that was so important that we didn’t make the time for those most important in our lives?
Perhaps our gardens aren’t so pretty today, because they have been neglected. Our time and our love can do wonders to restore life and relationship if it comes from our heart. People are no doubt the most important thing on God’s heart. If I am becoming more like Him they should be more important to my heart as well. Especially the ones God has given me responsibility for or accountability too.
Maybe today is a good day to go out and work in the gardens of relationship.

Blessings,
#kent

Dusty Walk, Clean Feet

March 13, 2014

 

Dusty Walk, Clean Feet


John 13:4-10

He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.  After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe [them] with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also [my] hands and [my] head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash [his] feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 


In the days of Jesus the roads were dusty and dirty.  Imagine walking for miles down a dry and dusty road in your sandals.  Imagine how darkened with dirt your feet would be from your journey.  In the days of Jesus it was customary when coming into a home that not only would you kick off your sandals, but that a servant would meet you with a basin of water and a towel to wash your feet.  This was the task of a slave or servant, but on this day, it was Jesus, the Master, that put off his garment, girded himself with a towel and began to wash the disciple’s feet.  We can only imagine how uncomfortable and embarrassing this must have been to the disciples for Jesus, their Master, to be washing their feet.  Peter, the outspoken one of the disciples, probably expressed what was in all of their hearts.  At first he ardently objects to Jesus washing his feet.  When Jesus tells him if He does not wash his feet, he has not part with Him; Peter goes to the other extreme.  “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands, and my head.”  Jesus told him he was already washed; all he needed to clean was his feet.

The Lord reminds of this today and of what He went on to say,”If I then, [your] Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” Obviously we don’t visit too many Christian homes today where it is customary for the people of the household to wash our feet.  There is a lesson and message that goes beyond the ceremonial and outward washing of feet.  Our feet represent our walk.  When we come into Christ and He washes us in His blood.  Jesus, with His blood, does for us what He relates to Peter, He cleans us within.  There is still the principle that we all continually walk the dusty roads of our earthly existence.  We are darkened and our feet dirtied by the sin and death that fills the earth in which we live.  As daily we walk through life, it is difficult for us not become dirtied by all that touches our lives.  It doesn’t mean that the blood of Jesus hasn’t cleansed us from our sins or that we need to be re-saved; it does mean that we still frequently need our feet washed.  We need our walk washed by the water of the Word.  We need our hearts and minds renewed and need to be reminded of whom we are, what we are and where we are going.  If our feet are not constantly washed our walk, can become polluted, unclean and defiled.  

Jesus teaches us in this example that it is the responsibility of each of us to wash one another’s feet.  As you read this word this morning, perhaps the Lord is using it to wash your feet as you are exhorted and encouraged in Him and your relationship with Him.  God has given us all unique gifts and abilities by which we can wash one another’s feet as we serve in the capacities that He has given each of us.  When we wash one another’s feet, we have accountability to one another to help each other to continue on from each other’s presence in a pure and holy walk.  This requires that we are not ignoring or neglecting the gift that the Lord has given and placed within us.  It requires that we are sensitive even to the least, perhaps even the most undesirable.  Jesus was not a respecter of persons; He was as willing to wash the feet of Judas as He was of Peter.  

Are we following the Lord’s example and commandment today, to wash one another’s feet?  Do we greet one another and speak to one another words of encouragement, hope, life and love? Perhaps the Lord will bring some dirty feet across your path today.  Take the time to wash them in the love and mercies of Jesus.  As we wash one another’s feet it helps each of us to be encouraged and continue walking in the things of God with clean feet and a righteous walk.

 

Blessings,

#KentStuck

#TricklesofTruth.wordpress.com

Neglect

July 9, 2013

Neglect

Ephesians 5:21
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Does your mind every wander back over the years of your life and you wonder, in retrospect, what you might have done differently to make them even, better, more productive and more loving.
It occurs to me that I will never regret not yelling or being angry with my wife more, but I may well regret the time and attention I neglected to give her. I’ll never regret the times I spent playing with my kids or grandkids and the special memories they created, but I may well regret all of the times I was too busy or involved to take the time with them. Neglect is often something we are not even aware of when it is happening. Usually we have sufficient other priorities to justify it when it is taking place.
In life the most beautiful and productive gardens are those that are constantly tended with a loving hand. Hours are spent watering, fertilizing, planting, pruning, pulling weeds, spraying for insects and all the things that make for beautiful garden. Will you and I regret that we didn’t spend more time in our gardens nurturing the human relationships that God has allowed in our lives? Will we even remember what it was that was so important that we didn’t make the time for those most important in our lives?
Perhaps our gardens aren’t so pretty today, because they have been neglected. Our time and our love can do wonders to restore life and relationship if it comes from our heart. People are no doubt the most important thing on God’s heart. If I am becoming more like Him they should be more important to my heart as well. Especially the ones God has given me responsibility for or accountability too.
Maybe today is a good day to go out and work in the garden of relationships.

Blessings,
kent

Spoiled Leftovers

July 1, 2013

Spoiled Leftovers

Colossians 3:5-11
5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

When we were saved and came into Christ we may have experienced a wonderful salvation and deliverance experience. While we by faith stepped into Christ and heavenly places not all of our old baggage fell by the wayside at that moment. While we were forgiven and all of our sins were washed away, it didn’t mean we never sinned or fell short again. The reality is that God didn’t just take all of the responsibility away from us and say now you are all pure, holy and you are just like me. In our spirits He did. In that inner man there is one in the likeness of Christ. But for that “Christ in us” to possess all of us it is a life-long process and one only fully consummated at His presence or coming.
Meanwhile we are caught up in the battleground of the mind and soul. Our inner man is intent on holiness, righteous and conformity to Christ, but sin still wants to work in our outward members. Did you ever have a beautiful refrigerator with great food in it, but you keep smelling this stench and wonder where is that odor coming from? You keep digging and digging and finally you find a baggy with an old rotten onion, so you throw that out, but it still stinks. You look some more and you open up this yogurt container that has more hairy mold than you’ve got whiskers. You grimace and wrinkle your nose as you throw it out. Still there is this smell, but what you find is that some of the foods you really like are the culprits. Oh man, you don’t want to throw those out, because you really like them, even if they aren’t good for you, so you tuck them away so they will be less noticeable, but you can still munch on them when you get the urge. Likely it is not the spirit man that wants to hold on to them, it is the flesh. We have ways of justifying our flesh and our little stashes where we make provision for those things we outwardly love, crave or don’t want to let go of.
What we deal with is that if we are maintaining a relationship with Christ and seeking to please Him in all of our ways we run into conflict. The Holy Spirit only allows us to indulge in our little hidden treasures for time until He begins to put His finger on them. Now it comes down to our will or His. The truth is that to His nose these things are spoiled leftovers of our past nature and they are a stench to Him, but will we let go of them? The Cross takes no prisoners in its process of holiness. It exercises extreme prejudice on those things our flesh holds dear, because they represent idolatry to the Lord. They are the place where our affections, commitments and loyalties often diverge from the Spirit as we make provisions for the flesh.
Most all of us deal with strongholds, these giants in our land in one area or another that keep defying the living God. Only as the Spirit of God rises up in us with dominion and authority will we conquer and overcome the strong will of rebellion that still abides in us. It has to be our will in union with His. Only as we relinquish every thing, every emotion, and every desire can Christ be fully Lord of the land. Romans 8:12-14 tells us, “12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
What are we going to do with our spoiled leftovers?

Blessings,
kent

Take Responsibility

June 28, 2013

Take Responsibility

Genesis 3:11-13
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Even from the beginning of time people have not wanted to take responsibility for their own actions and consequences. Even as we see Adam and Eve passing the blame for disobedience to someone else, so it continues today. We are continually reading about lawsuits that people actually win where it is obvious that there own negligence, ignorance or stupidity was to blame, but someone else has to pay for it. We obviously want to assume as little responsibility and accountability for our actions as is humanly possible. As a result of the sue-happy society that we live in, attorneys get rich on malpractice and liability insurance because any little thing gone wrong could result in a lawsuit and someone’s bankruptcy. Obviously there are many occasions when someone’s omission or commission causes harm or loss to another. That is where they need to take responsibility for their action or mistakes.
How does that affect us as Christians? Do we carry the same mindset and practice of the world? Jesus gives us principles in the Word that definitely are contrary to the standards and responses of the world. He says in Matthew 5:38-42, “”You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” “ The standard that Jesus gave was to go beyond what is required to give and forgive. That pretty much flies in the face of our human nature that wants to do just the opposite and yet that it is a Christ standard of behavior.
Most of us would say, but don’t you know if you do that you are just going to be a door mat for others to walk all over you? You have to stand up and fight for your rights. Is that what Christ taught us? It doesn’t mean we are without principles and that we don’t stand for our beliefs, but when we go beyond the expected we become empowered because we choose to give beyond what was required.
Paul addresses an even more disturbing situation that still exist among the church today. It concerns the lawsuits among believers in 1Corinthians 5:1-11: “1If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! 5I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers!
7The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” It is a sad state when brother defrauds brother or when we have to go into the world’s court system to seek the world’s justice. Matters of difference should be arbitrated by the church if, not forgiven altogether.
Many of us still operate our lives by the natural laws that govern men. Christ has given us an even higher standard to follow and it is one our flesh probably isn’t going to like, but we need to exercise godly principles. Maybe you have a legitimate complaint against another but forgiveness needs to be the order of the day, because Christ first forgave us and gave us what we did not deserve and could not earn. That is the heart He wants for us to live out of. This is a foreign concept to many of us and the way we have been brought up to think and believe. Jesus practiced this principal most of effectively in the cross. He took responsibility and paid the price for a debt that was not His own. We will have our crucifixion experiences as well if we are in Him, because “as He is so are we in this world. “ Are we willing to take the responsibility for our actions while at the same time often forgiving the faults and sins of others against ourselves? Such is the law of Christ.

Blessings,
kent

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