BY REV. CLINT LOVEALL
SPIRIT LAKE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Did you know that a man once tried to sue God? It's true.
Pavel M. sentenced to life for murder in Romania, filed a lawsuit against God and the Romanian Orthodox church for failing to keep him from the devil, as was implied in his Baptismal covenant/contract. Not surprisingly, the suit was dropped [Wikipedia - Lawsuits against God].
That kind of reminds me of the congressman who was arrested for being loudly and publicly intoxicated at an adult entertainment club who later claimed that he went there only to do research and surveillance and had to act the part or be found out. Sounds reasonable, right?
We live in a culture where people rarely profess accountability for their own actions. From politicians to preschoolers, we excel at the blame game. Democrats blame Republicans and vice versa. Celebrities apologize that they were misunderstood, not that they were wrong. Political leaders claim they were victims, not perpetrators, and coaches and athletes explain they weren't cheating, they were just confused about the rules or looking for an edge. Parents are convinced it's the school or teachers' fault their kid isn't doing well in class, or the coach's fault "Junior" isn't a star player.
The rest of us aren't exempt either. We blame bosses when we aren't happy at work, we blame pastors and churches when we don't feel fulfilled and we blame spouses when we are restless in our marriages. Far too often the refrain of "not my fault," easily slips out of our hearts and out of our mouths. Accountability is hard, and no one wants to be responsible. However, I'm convicted by a poster I saw once that reminds us, "The common denominator in all your problems is you."
Most of us would benefit a great deal from admitting some blame and taking responsibility for the places we are stuck.
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:14-18 (emphasis added).
I think one of the things we learn in Christ is that no one can keep us from joy but ourselves. If we are not fulfilled, not happy, not able to maintain relationships with others, perhaps the first place we should look is the
Are we blessing others or cursing them? Are we in harmony, or are we proud? Do we assume we know better than others and do we look to get even rather than be reconciled? Are we willing to apologize?
"As far as it depends on you" is much farther than most of us want to admit, and peace with everyone starts with self. In a world of so much blaming, may Christians and the church of Christ be willing to say that peace starts with us. May we be willing to admit our mistakes and seek to correct them. May we be willing to let Jesus show us how far it depends on us, and may others see him in us as we seek to bring Christ's peace to all of our relationships.