What's On Your List?

I woke up to rain here at the cabin. Fortunately the temperatures were warmer than average. I’m sure everything will slip over to winter mode soon enough; but I’m just thanking God for the reprieve. There’s still a lot to do before the harsh winter winds come beating at the door.

Have you ever been around somebody that is so insufferable that you question his or her ‘Christianity’? After all, if they were truly a Christian, they wouldn’t ______ (fill in the blank). Personally, I tend to have a hierarchy of sins list. My list ranges from least (pride) to worst (murder of the innocent) with a multitude of other infractions in the middle somewhere. This sin list isn’t set in stone, (as God’s was). The sins on my list seem to shift, depending on who the recipient of the particular sin is. It also depends on whether or not I can justify it when the sinner is me. Sound familiar? I’m sure that you know somebody else just like me. (wink/wink). Let me ask you another question. Do you ever have one of those days where you could sit and write out you sins list – then place a specific name beside each sin?

All too often I catch myself looking at other folks’ sins as being worse than my own. I like to think that I’m a good judge of people … yet others sit in judgment of me. See the difference? By the way, I’m a terrible judge of people. But it doesn’t stop me from trying. When I misrepresent the truth it’s for a person’s own good. Other folks just flat out lie to me. Let’s face it, none of us are immune. We all face that sin issue each day. I can be here completely by myself for 12 hours a day and still rack up more sins than someone working in a corporate office building. And it’ll be completely unintentional. Before you get stuck on that last sentence … yes, even Christians sin intentionally. This is Friday night. If you have any doubts about what I’m saying … just drive around town for a little while.

Honey has a saying that he uses a lot, “Don’t give the devil more credit than he deserves.” Simple fact: our very nature is sinful. We don’t have to work at sin. Our most primary sin is selfishness and everything else we do branches almost completely off of that. Why do we lie? To either protect us from unpleasant consequences or to make ourselves look better. Why do we cheat? To acquire more for self. And why do we judge? The fastest way to feel better about yourself is to look around and see that others are inferior in one form or another. The examples go on and on. Yes, the devil and his minions are a nasty bunch. They aren’t little cartoon characters that tease us into mischief. The devil himself leads us straight to the gates of hell like a pied piper while his demons cheer from the sidelines. If I listen closely, I can almost hear them saying, “It’s all about YOU”, “You can have it YOUR way”, “YOU don’t have to take that”, etc. And my selfish nature snags on to every word with both hands! Oh yea! ME! ME … ME … ME … ME!!! Thus, my sins can’t possibly be as bad as everyone else’s. Right?

This is why it’s so very important to seek God every day. We need Him to guide us in our thoughts and our actions. The very minute I start focusing on me, I’m putting Him second in my life. The minute I start looking down on others, I’ve left the servant role that He has given me and placed myself above those that are in need of a minister instead of a judge. Jesus died for them too.

This is the latest in the lessons that God has been trying to teach me. When I get quiet for long periods of time, that usually means God is in the process of teaching and/or correcting me. Does this mean that I can’t speak out about sin? No. It just means that when I see sin in others, my first responsibility is to pray for them. Not like the Pharisees of old … but humbly and with compassion. Then let God lead me in what to say and when to say it. Folks, life is a journey. We are just sojourners/pilgrims on the road toward God and our heavenly home. In sharing what God is teaching me, I hope it’ll make the journey a little smoother for someone else.

Have a good evening, and may the Lord bless you!

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