Monday, August 22, 2005

The hatred of responsibility

One of the classes I had in high school was an American History class. Because I was graduating in 2000, there was a lot of focus on the last 100 years or the last 1000 years, so we were required to compile a list the most influential events of the past 100 years for this class. Each student was then required to present their top ten list. I still remember how shocked I was when one girl’s most influential event of the 20th century was Woodstock. Although I wasn’t alive at the time of Woodstock, I just couldn’t believe that a three day, hippy music festival could possibly be the most influential event of the 1900s. I’m by no means an expert on what this event meant to people, but I imagine it is safe to say that it was not a shining light of responsible behavior.

It is a sad testimony to our culture that much of what this concert seems to represent is still present in our culture. We still hold to the motto of “make love, not war.” Although, what is really meant by this is that want pleasure now and not responsibility. We have chosen the opposite of what Moses chose.
Hebrews 11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. (NKJV)
You see, looking to the short term is much easier than seeing the end result. The examples of this in our society are unmistakable. We have abortion on demand. Rather than seeing the value of that life, people prefer to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. Only later do they learn how much this hurts them. People refuse to join themselves to the church and submit to its discipline; rather, they prefer to jump from church to church seeking an emotional high. The consequences of this are that people never really get any of the meat of Christianity. Couples are committing to marriages where the vows are in terms of “as long as I love you.” Whatever is most convenient--that is the best.

One of the most sickening things about all this is that Christians seem to be no different. Surveys about divorce show that Christians are just as likely to get divorced as are non-Christians. So much for the idea of being salt and light in a dark world…

I wonder if much of the Christian problem here is a misinterpretation of Matthew 18:2-4 and similar passages.
Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (NKJV)
This teaching does not idolize everything about children! It only tells us that we must be humble like little children; little children don’t think that they know it all and neither should Christians, but if you begin to believe that all of the Christian life is represented as being a little child, then you will not be inclined to take on responsibility. In fact, you’ll probably eschew it. I guess people miss Christ’s teaching when he doesn’t commend the behavior and attitude of children.
Matthew 11:16-17 “But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, and saying:
‘ We played the flute for you,
And you did not dance;
We mourned to you,
And you did not lament.’(NKJV)
This characteristic of children, the inability to make up their mind, is not commended. Don’t be like little children in this way. Be humble like little children, but don’t be irresponsible like them.

The author of Hebrews said something related.
Hebrews 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (NKJV)
Christians are to grow up and take on adult responsibilities. We all start out as babes, but we should not stay there. This is fool hearty and destructive to our society. Our churches need men and women of integrity and stability who have trained their senses to make judgments. I pray that the church begins to grow up and ditches this current hatred of responsibility that we seem to have acquired from the culture at large.

Check out Matt Powell’s sermon on Genesis 49; he talks some about this idea in there.


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