The more I think about the role of men, how the current culture we live in is impacting the development of men, and compare it to what God desires for us, the more I realize there are some critical issues that we must address. This week, I want to talk to you about ownership.
Genesis 3 is a tough chapter on the evidence of the problem mankind has. If you are unable to recall what happens in Genesis 3, just think of Adam, Eve, the serpent, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The serpent tempts Eve, she eats the fruit and then shares it with Adam, causing them to suddenly become aware they are naked and hide from God. Afterwards, God comes to visit them and finds them hiding. He calls out to them, and Adam comes out of hiding, apologizing for their nakedness. God responds with, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat?” Adam responds with, “It was the woman you put here with me. She gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” God shifts His attention to Eve, and asked her, “What have you done?” She responded with, “It was the serpent (the devil). He deceived me, and I ate it.”
It’s a true tragedy of a story. God was desiring to have a pure relationship with them, but they decided to give their trust to the devil, they followed his words, and found themselves in sin. Meanwhile, God was still faithful with them. He didn’t call out their sin, they did. They were suddenly aware they had not done good, but had done evil. They tried to cover up their wrong, but in their attempts, all they did was prove to God that they had not only done evil, but they were aware of it. Their desire to cover up their wrong doing caused God to address it. He didn’t address the sin first, they did. When God gave them the chance to accept responsibility, they blamed Him and the devil.
I am fascinated by this story. There are so many ways to talk about it, so many lessons to be learned, but today we are addressing ownership. Now, when I say “ownership” I am not talking about money, as in owning a car or a house. I am talking about taking responsibility for your actions. Every time I think about taking responsibility, the struggles with our culture, and how people don’t want to take ownership for what they do, I am reminded of one person. When I was a youth minister, some 15 years ago, we had a young boy- maybe 8 years old that never took responsibility for his mistakes. He would hit another kid, I would catch him, and I would pull him to the side and ask him something like, “What were you thinking? Why did you do that?” and he would answer me, “Because they did…”, or “It was them!” He always had a reason, most didn’t make any sense, and he definitely took things too far. Anyone who has worked with kids knows a kid like this one. They are everywhere. They over react, and justify their actions based on what has happened to them. They don’t understand grace, always responding with an eye for an eye.
But there is an equal-level problem with not taking responsibility for actions that doesn’t involve an eye for an eye. This one blames others for their problems. They always have an excuse. If you teach them Truth, they always have an idea to make an exception to try to justify why they shouldn’t act the way you teach them. They typically think, “Yeah, what you are saying sounds good right now, but that don’t work in the real world.” Can I just say, “Absolutely! It doesn’t work in the real world!”? I mean, really. We are in the world, but not of the world. God is calling us to rise above the world, to be noticeably different, to behave different, to respond different, to act different, to want what’s different, to think different, to desire different, to create different. As Christians, we are not supposed to be like the world. The world changes the subject, gives excuses, justifies itself. We don’t.
We take ownership for our mistakes. Adam and Eve didn’t. When God talked to Adam, Adam blamed God for making Eve. When God talked to Eve, she blamed the devil.
James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…” Don’t hide your sins. Don’t be like Adam and Eve, hiding in the bushes, wearing fig leaves, trying to cover up your mistakes, and then blaming others for your choices.
Proverbs 28:13 says, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
Lastly, owning up to our mistakes doesn’t just mean to confess to them. It means we have to renounce them, as in, “That was a mistake, I have learned from it, and I will never do it again.” And this is not a lesson just for men. Eve made the same mistake as Adam. Neither one wanted to own up to their bad choices. This is truly something that everyone does, the temptations are for all of us to cover up, misdirect, or run away from our problems. But as children of God, we can’t do that. We need to be people who own up to our mistakes, no matter how big or how small. Set the example, don’t wait for everyone else to start doing this. It’s impossible for us to be children of God, to be men and women of God, when we are covering up bad choices. No man wants to be wrong, but when we are, we need to be humble enough to admit it, correct it, and lead others forward. Bless you…
Written by a few for the many.