Brother Jeff's Message
Since I started driving a school bus, I hear some pretty funny things and I get asked a number of interesting questions. The latest thought provoking inquiry was this, “Mr. Bus Driver Man, in the movies, why do ‘a certain race of people” always die first in the movie.” Not a big movie watcher, but also doubting the validity of a kindergartener’s pointed and accusing question, I asked for clarification. The water got muddier as it often does, so I asked this question, “Are you sure these characters in the movie died because they were ‘a certain race” or because of something they did or didn’t do?” In other words, if someone were told not to go into a spooky house because the guy living there liked to cut people up with chainsaws (this is the movie they were talking about – not my first choice of examples, sometime you just have to meet them where they are!) and somebody goes in there and gets dead; is it because they were ‘a certain race’ or because they did something they were told not to do? The obvious answer is the latter.
In life, sometimes it’s tempting to believe the bad situations we find ourselves in are the fault of someone else. It’s easy to say people are picking on us or singling us out; today we might say we are bullied. In fairness, there may be a little truth to some of these claims, but have you ever stopped to consider why? Why you? When things don’t seem to happen to anyone else they happen to you. Why?
In the book of Judges, Israel encounters trouble time and again. Nation after nation oppressed them and controlled them, but not because of who they were; but because of what they did. Time and again they forsook the Lord and did what was right in their own eyes. Over and over the Lord turned them over to another nation in hopes the error of their ways would finally sink in. I think about Adam and Eve and the beauty and ease of living in the Garden. They lost it all because of their choices. If we are honest with ourselves, how much of our trouble is the result of our decisions and choices?
To be sure we will be persecuted for our righteousness. The Bible teaches this repeatedly (Matthew 5:10, John 15:20, 2 Timothy 3:12); but there is a difference between problems as a result of being self-righteous and being persecuted for being righteous. Mostly our troubles are not because we are Christians, but because of the unrighteous choices, as Christians, we sometimes make. Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord (Lamentations 3:40).