It lurked in the recesses of my fridge. I had no idea what it was or how long it’d been there, I just knew that it wasn’t mine. And it was nasty.
As the family gathered for dinner, I plopped the container on the counter. “Who does this belong to?”
The three voices chimed, “Not me!”
“Well,” I accused, “it isn’t mine so it has to belong to ONE of you.”
Sound familiar? Why is it so hard to accept responsibility and admit you’ve made a mess? The words seem so simple:
It’s mine… I’m sorry… I blew it…
And yet, they’re so difficult to say. We want to rationalize our actions and explain ourselves, or blame somebody else, or try to hide the mess and hope nobody notices.
Sadly, the mess remains, and if it’s not quickly dealt with, it can cause long-term problems. Gideon had one such mess.
After defeating the Midianites, Gideon collected gold from the plunder to build a memorial to God. His intent was good, but what happened was not:
All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and
it became a snare to Gideon and his family.
~Judges 8:27B (NIV)
Gideon was a great man of valor and faith, but when he created his memorial, he blew it.
But so do we.
Hasty words, broken promises, misplaced priorities… Or like Gideon, we might create or acquire something that’s meant to be helpful, but in time becomes destructive or changes our focus.
A hobby, for instance.
It begins as something that helps us relax and unwind. But then we get serious about it.
We need better equipment.
We need to practice more.
We need to play weekend tournaments.
Before we know it, our hobby has become an obsession. This doesn’t just apply to activities. It can also apply to jobs, relationships, ministry, etc.
(Pardon me while I touch up my pedicure. I’ve stepped on my own toes!)
Please hear my heart: we need all those things! God delights when our lives are balanced and our pursuits are healthy. But the enemy of our souls wants to take every good thing and corrupt it. He wants us out-of-balance and unhealthy, and loves nothing more than to watch something good become an obsession and take our focus. Because,
Anything that takes our focus off God
can become an idol in our hearts.
(Care to Tweet this?)
I’ve found these steps to be helpful as I prayerfully examine my life:
- Admit the wrong and ask for forgiveness.
- Explain if appropriate, and ask for accountability.
- Share if/when appropriate.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other …
~James 5:16a (TNIV)
“Wrongs” come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from simple missteps (wrong priorities, bad habits, etc.) to deliberate deceit (adultery, embezzlement, etc.). The greater the wrong, the more serious the consequences and the harder the work. But regardless of the situation, God can and will redeem it if we’re willing.
To borrow the Nike slogan, Just Do It. Like leftovers in the fridge, the longer you wait, the nastier it gets.
How have you seen this in your life, or the life of someone close to you?
Click to read other posts in the series, Leaving a Godly Legacy.