Christian columnist Madeline Crabb wrote in her blog, “It’s amazing! There is a public outcry for change from nearly every area of society. But it’s always someone else who needs to change. It’s as if a case of “mass amnesia” has swept across our nation. Nobody is responsible for their personal behavior. Every action is justified by blaming someone else, or some circumstance. We are no longer responsible for anything we do. Maybe the devil made me do it…or my mother or father were mean to me…or maybe some awful kid in school laughed at me…or maybe it’s because my mom always liked my brother or sister more than me… Or what about parents making excuses for their kids’ bad behavior? Oh, my child can’t do this or that because of a teacher, coach…or maybe the rules just aren’t fair for everybody… or maybe it’s because “they” don’t understand how special my kid is… or my kid can’t behave because of whatever…and on and on and on it goes. ENOUGH ALREADY! We need to stop blaming others for our problems or bad behavior, and take personal responsibility.”
As believers, we know that every person is accountable for their actions in this life and one day will stand before the sovereign God. In 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, Paul said, “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” In this passage the purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ is revealed as the place where God will judge the works of believers. Believers will not be judged to determine punishment or to be banished from God’s presence, rather our works will be judged as to their quality. We are assured that once we trust Christ as our Savior, we stand on a solid foundation which will hold even if the structure of their works is flammable. Some believers will be saved but might receive no additional reward to lay at the feet of Jesus.
No such comfort is offered to those who, although they might be have worked hard to please God, have ignored His Son and the promise of eternal life and peace with God through faith in Jesus payment for sin on the cross and his victorious resurrection from the grave. Revelation 20:11-15 are verses that suggest fear and panic with no hope offered to those who stand before God, “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
So as we consider the truths of our own accountability, we are left with questions about our lives. Are we willing, as believers, to give up the things in our lives which might be wood, hay, and straw? As those who know Jesus Christ, do we seek to live our lives each day with the substance which will stand up under the fire of God’s judgment? The truth is, it does make a difference how we live each day. As parents and educators, we know that we may be the difference in the lives of our children, as to whether they will attend the judgment seat of Christ, or God forbid, face the terrible Great White Throne.
In our commitment to the Christian life, we cannot afford to play the blame game. We must certainly get into the game and compete. Our example is Jesus Christ who sets the standard for our life. Hebrews 12:1-3, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”
Yes, we need change in America today, but the kind of change America desperately needs can only take place in the hearts of Americans, not in politics or the courts.
Robert Andrews, Ph.D.