You Can’t Give Away What You Don’t Own

We have a column in our local paper that is a forum where people can post short little carps about things that bother them.

I am thinking of writing to that column complaining about the childish and inane complaints that people make.

Today I read someone’s complaint about the fast food tacos and burritos they buy: the issue centered around the wrapper sticking to the food, and how because of that, when eating the food and driving the person sometimes eats the paper.

Stop eating while you are driving! DUH!!

Just like the little old lady who sued McDonalds for burning herself with their coffee. Supposedly she placed the cup between her legs to pull the cover off so she could drink the hot coffee, all the while driving her car. Of course, it spilled and she got burnt, and who paid? We all did. The truth is, as I hear it, she didn’t do as well as everyone thinks, and her lawyers got the best of the suit (no surprise there), but the point is the same.

And what is the point? The point is that today no one is responsible, as a people or as a nation, for what happens to us, even when we are the cause.

Actually, it’s not all that new. Cain was a victim, too. No, really! Didn’t he complain to God that his punishment was too much to bear? And that he might be killed by someone if God sent him all alone into the world? Uh, what about Abel? Hello? Didn’t you just murder him?

Somewhere we lost the understanding that we are responsible for what we do and say. Somewhere we lost that maturity, that sense of ownership for our actions. We want to be recognized for any good deed we do, we want to get raises for simply showing up and doing the minimum, we want medals and trophies for nothing more than being there, but when we screw up it isn’t our fault.

In the parable of the man who hired workers for a denarius, he paid all the same amount, whether they started early in the day or joined just before sundown. The workers who were there all day complained about everyone getting the same pay, no matter how long they had worked. The man said that they (the ones there all day) got what they agreed to, and what he paid others isn’t their business. This has a real lesson for people today, which is that we should not complain about what anyone else gets and be concerned only with what we have.  If we are getting what we agreed to receive, then nothing else matters.

Oh, but that’s not fair! Really? Do you remember this:

Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,’ says the Lord God.” Ezekiel 18:24-30

God will forgive a life-long sinner who does T’Shuvah and turns from his sin, even on his deathbed, and a man who has been righteous all his life, but then becomes a sinner (meaning purposefully turning to the “dark side” ) will be punished, even if this change of heart comes on his deathbed. And the world says that’s not fair. That’s what the story of the man paying the same wage to everyone, no matter when they started working, is all about, isn’t it? God looks to the heart, and what you did yesterday doesn’t really matter as much as what and who you are today.

When I was in Sales, we joked that you might be the top salesperson for the year, 5 years in a row, but what did you sell yesterday? And how many appointments do you have today? History is nice, but we live day to day, and we don’t know what will happen tomorrow, so we need to be in the moment, every moment. What others do or say may impact us, but it is what we do and say that we are responsible for, no matter what others have done.

We need to own up to our own actions. That means we need to “own” our sinfulness, “own” our mistakes, and willingly be accountable for them. When you own something, you have the right and the ability to give it away. If I have a mortgage, I can offer to sell my house but I can’t really sell it until the bank releases the lien. When I go to sell my car, I can’t really close the deal until the holder of the loan is paid because that is the legal entity that releases the registration to transfer the title.

The same is true with our sins- we can’t give them up to God until we own them. And if we keep thinking that we are the victims, that we aren’t accountable for what we do and say, and (ultimately) that it “isn’t our fault”, then how can we really be free of our sin?  If we don’t own it, we can’t get rid of it.

I am sure we all know someone, or some people, who pretend to be Believers, who talk the talk, but they don’t ever really admit their sinfulness, and they always seem to be a victim. I have known people that screw up their lives with foolish and immature decisions, then blame God for the Tsuris they get. I have heard people say that God is punishing them when it is clear that they are just making bad decisions. They don’t own up to their own stupidity and immaturity, so bad things happen. But it’s not their fault, oh no! They are Believers, they are godly people who pray all the time, but yet they must have done something wrong because God is against them, or they say they are under attack (presumably from the Enemy.)

The Enemy won’t attack you unless you are getting closer to God; if you don’t take responsibility for your own actions, there is no way the Enemy will be after you since you already are far from being able to get closer to God. Your sin keeps you away; the sin of irresponsibility, the sin of self-righteousness, the sin of rejecting the very essence of what God is telling us all- that He is the Judge, He is the one whose way is fair, and that He is the one who will repay.

Forget fair, forget what someone else did to you, forget why, just remember this: we are, each and every one of us, accountable to God for what we do and what we say. That’s all that will matter when we are before His Throne of Judgement. If we defend ourselves saying we cursed them out because of what they did to us, God will still hold us accountable for cursing someone out, won’t He? If we “get back” at someone, won’t God, fairly and rightfully, say that He told us not to repay for evil with evil, but wait upon Him? Didn’t He say that He will repay? Aren’t we commanded, over and over, to forgive?

And for those of us who will stand before the Throne with Yeshua at our side as our advocate, how will Yeshua be able to say that He has taken our sins when we haven’t really let go of them? We can’t give our sins to the Lord if we don’t own them. It’s true that Yeshua’s blood can cleanse away all sin, but if we don’t take off our “filthy rags” and place them in the washing machine, how will they be cleaned?

Our sins are our own;  when we are personally and completely accountable for them, only then can we truly be able to give them away.

Are you ready to own your sins? It’s the only way to be rid of them.

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