Who Is Accountable?

This morning we dropped Little E off for the family specialist to take him on his weekly visit to see his biological mother. I wiped his face, which still bore the cinnamon and sugar gooeyness of Einstein poppers, and quickly gathered his belongings. Just before jumping in my own car, I glanced in the family specialists’ car. Usually when she picks up Little E, he is the only child present. This morning, I was surprised to see two little boy heads bobbing in the backseat as E made three.

Sometimes one glance can change or renew a perspective.

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With that one glance in the car revealing three heads instead of one, I quickly remembered there are thousands of children separated from their biological families for a multitude of reasons. Indeed, there are multiple reasons why children enter the foster care system. While not all of these reasons point directly back to the sins of the parents, many, if not most do. For example, drug and alcohol addiction, domestic violence within the home, child abuse and neglect. Conversely, some parents lose their jobs and do their best to take care of their families, many times living out of their cars. In these situations the homelessness of families lead to foster care.

I am sure that many foster parents have heard their fosterchildren’s biological parents say similar to the following: “This was not my fault. My child should have never been taken away from me.”

Doesn’t this remind you of the state of our culture? Aren’t most people reluctant to take accountability for their actions? I believe so. We are a people, sadly both Christian and non, that refuse to point the finger of blame at ourselves. Rather we will join with the adulteress and declare, “I have done no wrong.” (Proverbs 30:20 ESV)

Can you recall the last time you heard a president, politician, or preacher mention the word sin? What about your general conversations with fellowman both Christian and non, how often does this word come up? I would venture to say rarely, and rarer still in regards to personal application.

I am working through Jerry Bridges’ book, Respectable Sins, with my Bible study group. In the second chapter of this book we read that according to Dr. Karl Menninger’s book, Whatever Become of Sin?:

In the presidential proclamation for the annual National Day of Prayer, the last time the word sin was mentioned was in President Eisenhower’s proclamation in 1953–and those words were borrowed from a call to national prayer by Abraham Lincoln in 1863! So, as Dr Menninger observed, “as a nation, we officially ceased ‘sinning’ some twenty [now 60] years ago.

Interestingly, a fellow Bible-study woman summarized the disappearance of sin in our vocabulary in this way, “As goes God (from our culture) so goes sin. People do not believe in God therefore, they do not know who they would be sinning against. Christians understand that when we talk of sin it is against a Holy God; non-Christians [and our society as a whole] do not understand or recognize this concept.”

As goes God so goes sin. We have softened the language of sin to “flaws, mistakes, weaknesses, secret pleasures.” With the softening of sin has come the loss of accountability. “It isn’t my fault…I have rights. My actions only affect me.”

Until we Christians call sin sin, how can we expect those outside the Body of Christ to do so? Until we rid our own houses of the sins of the flesh, how on earth are we expecting to be the the salt and light to this lost and dying world? (See Matthew 5)

Yes… I am going to say it, if you live with your mate outside of marriage and yet claim to follow Christ, you are blatantly disobeying and disregarding His commands to keep the marriage bed undefiled. If we watch filth within our home and condone the acts which we would abhor in our physical presence, then should we turn it off? Yes. If we curse and then praise with the same mouth should seek forgiveness for our SINS? Yes. If we harbor bitterness and resentment in our hearts should we seek to forgive and restore? Yes. If we are quick to anger and slander should we bow in repentance and seek forgiveness and a change of heart. Absolutely.

It is our sin which separates us from God and not our flaws or weaknesses.

We alone, you alone, I alone am responsible and accountable for the decisions that I make to sin.

Today is the day for repentance and salvation. Today is the day to resolve to obey the commands of God, without picking and choosing those we find comfortable or agreeable. We can do it by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and the resolution of man to walk forward in obedience. Even if it is more like trudging than walking at times.

Those three heads bobbing in the car this morning reminded me that regardless of the outcome with Little E and our family, God’s children are out there in need of a home. If you are a Christian, would you consider today taking up the cause of the Father and providing temporary homes for children like these three? It may be the only home they grow up in that preaches the gospel and teaches the word of God. We are accountable for our sins and for the Great Commission: to make disciples of all nations. Where better than to start than in your own home?

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It Is Like Wearing a Bathing Suit

Being from the south, beauty pageants are in my past, as well as swim suit competitions. Talk about wanting to permanently erase some images from all minds exposed to that! Never mind the swimsuits for “scholarship programs,” comfort in a swimsuit in front of peers has never been a breeze.

For instance, the constant primping that teenagers inevitably face before pool parties and meet-ups at the beach. Oh, the agony! (OK, most of the time it is not that bad, but work with me here.)

Being a pudgy child, it may be that discomfort in a bathing suit has been a reality from elementary years. Though by no means enough of one to keep me from the water. This fish loves to swim and explore the shore.

Why all of this talk about uncomfortable bathing suit scenarios? I am getting there.

With writing comes moments of exposure akin to public speaking in a bathing suit.

A recent re-tweet on Twitter summarized “good writing” as follows, “If you don’t spill your heart’s blood on the page, or leave your soul’s echo in the story, they’re only words.”

On trips to the beach I am primarily comfortable in my skin. Everyone is in a swim suit…some needing more fabric than they allotted. Everyone is more exposed. Move this to a pool party among coed believers and up goes the inhibition alert. Especially when it is a kids pool party and I am primarily the only mommy in the pool. Anyone else been there?

The readership of my posts makes me feel the same way. With no Google Analytics or any other stat counter plugins on this blog, I have no idea how many people nor whom is reading my diary so to speak. Unless people I know personally tell me they have read a post then for all I know I am writing to my pals and gals at the beach.

Why would writing for an audience of strangers feel less threatening than writing for an audience of friends, family, and acquaintances?

Much like evangelists in the past who traveled between differing congregations, a blogger without real community readers, those who know him or her and their daily walk, can write virtually without accountability. That is why my insecurity as a writer makes me cringe at times when a friend or acquaintance tells me they read a post. I worry about grammar errors, the quality of the post, was I dogmatic, was I too vulnerable, how did this change their opinion of me?

All of these insecurities are not of the Lord. My purpose in writing is to share. Be it our life, our Lord, or encouragement to run the race with perseverance.

When a friend tells me she read a post,  it also makes me joyful because it provides accountability. Often times real-life readers provide affirmation and spiritual support. Authenticity is a cheap word in many cases today, but true possession of authenticity in speech, life, and writing is worth more than thousands of page hits per post. Thank you to “real-life” readers who help keep me authentic.

I praise the Lord for giving me this word picture while I was at the beach with my kids today. While comfortably wearing my bathing suit in front of strangers He brought this concept full circle. Praise be to His Name, Jesus.

P.S. Don’t worry, I never blog in a bathing suit in real life. Thanks for stopping by. I am linking with Katie and Stacey at:

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