Tuesday, January 29, 2008

He's been here. He knows.

An especially comforting passage of Scripture is found in Hebrews 4:15-16.

It reads, "We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are -- yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

The Christian should take comfort in the fact that Jesus not only loves us and wants us to be with Him, but also went to the trouble of experiencing firsthand what it is like to be in our shoes. He lived as a human being on this earth, and experienced all the joys and sorrows, victories and hardships common to the human race. There was no safety net, no weekend furlough, nothing to prevent Him from doing anything you or I might do. Yet, through it all, facing every type of temptation we face, He did not sin.

Why did He come and live here? If He wanted to pay the price for our sins, could He not have appeared as a full-grown man one day and gotten it overwith? Why do all that? Why live an entire life before paying that price for us?

I will not pretend to know the answers to these questions, but there is something here that makes a difference to me.

I work as a middle school principal. I used to be a middle school assistant principal. And, prior to that, a middle school teacher.

Now that I supervise middle school teachers and assistant principals, it means a lot to me, and I hope to them, that I have personally spent time in their shoes, doing their jobs, living their lives. I know what it feels like to be where they are. While this enables me to judge their work more accurately than someone who has never been there, it also gives me a much deeper sense of sympathy for their struggles, a sympathy impossible for an outsider to feel. By the same token, the administrator I report to has also worked previously as a teacher and a principal, enabling him to better respond to me and my needs and concerns.

What it all boils down to is credibility. I am able to speak to my teachers and A.P.'s about their work with far more credibility than someone with no experience ever could. If they should refuse to listen to my words, it would be for their own reasons, not for a lack of credibility on my part.

How do you feel about your boss, or whoever you report to? Does your boss's understanding of your position make a difference in your motivation to work for him or her? While we all know to salute and do our work, we cannot deny that it does make a difference to us.

If this concept rings true in the area of our work, how much more should it mean to us spiritually?

Jesus does not ask of us anything He did not do Himself. In fact, He asks far less of us than He actually did.

We would be just as accountable to a God who had never been here. But, how much more joyfully we serve a God who has!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Grudge 2

"Beware the fury of a patient man." -- John Dryden

King David, a man after God's own heart, displayed a malignant flaw in his character. In two particular instances, he refused to forgive, nursed a grudge for years, and took vengeance on those who had wronged him.

As the saying goes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

2 Samuel 13 tells a disturbing story of rape, incest, and murder. Among the children of King David are a son, Amnon, and a daughter, Tamar, born of different mothers. Tamar's full brother is Absalom, who will later briefly usurp his father's throne. Amnon lusts for his half-sister Tamar. He confides in a friend, who advises him to lure Tamar to his bedroom under false pretenses. Amnon follows this advice and rapes his half-sister, ignoring her pleas and her promise to marry him if he will only refrain from this act. Once he is finished with her, Amnon's feelings of lust turn to contempt, and he throws Tamar out. Absalom finds his sister Tamar distraught, determines what happened to her, and takes her into his own home. From then on, Absalom hates his half-brother Amnon, but does not speak to him at all.

Two full years later, Absalom plots and executes the murder of Amnon in retaliation for Amnon's rape of Tamar.

Does any of this sound familiar? Can it be a coincidence that this same character flaw is seen in both father and son?

Again, how can we not strive to be forgiving people in the light of such a story? How can we think we are any different from Absalom or David when we refuse to forgive? While we may not carry out the same action, does Jesus not tell us it all begins in the heart? (Matthew 5:21 - 28). Lust in the heart is no different, in spiritual terms, than actual adultery. How can a grudge held against someone be any different, spiritually, than actually taking revenge?

Forgiveness is not an easy business, and it is not something to take lightly. When serious offenses occur, some confrontation and resolution is necessary, whatever form it might take.

This only brings into sharper focus an aspect of this story that is easy to miss: 2 Samuel 13:21 -- "When King David heard all this, he was furious." This quote refers to David's awareness of the rape that had taken place, two years before the murder occurred. David was furious about the rape, but apparently did nothing about it, opening the door that much wider for Absalom to assume the role of vengeful brother.

We are all at some point tempted to imagine what we might do to someone who hurt us or our loved ones: "Oh, if someone ever did (fill in the blank) to me or my family, I would do (fill in the blank) to them." We must pray we wouldn't. We must hope we wouldn't. We must prepare ourselves now for the possibility of being tested in this area at an unexpected time.

"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself." -- Leviticus 19:18

"...do not avenge yourselves...for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord." -- Romans 12:19

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Do you mean that literally?

Funny story, and a reminder of the need to be careful what you say in front of the kids.

Jonathan had gone down for a nap on Saturday, and I went to check if he was asleep. He was sawing logs. I went back into the kitchen where Kristi was, and told her, "Jon-Jon is GONE!", meaning "completely konked out".

Benjamin happened to be in the kitchen when I said this. He looked at Kristi and asked, "Where is he?"

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Just wanna watch the world burn...

I've become fascinated with Trailer 1 of the much-anticipated movie "Dark Knight". The trailer features nothing but dialogue between Bruce Wayne and Alfred. Referring to the Joker, Alfred says, "Some men aren't looking for anything logical. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men....just wanna watch the world burn."

Have you ever been in the presence of evil? In the presence of a person who, at least at that moment, didn't care about God, or you, or anyone else, or anything? Didn't care about how his actions affected others? Willing to hurt or destroy, just to get and preserve his way?

I think I have. Only once, that I'm really sure of. And, I'll be honest; it was scary.

What comfort or recourse do we have in dealing with evil in this world?

Words from Psalm 37:

"Do not fret because of evildoers...." "Trust in the Lord...."

"Delight yourself in the Lord..." "Commit your way to the Lord...."

"Trust in Him..." "Rest in the Lord...."

"...wait patiently for Him..."

"The wicked plots against the just...The Lord laughs at him...."

Jesus also reminds us what we should and should not be afraid of: "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to deliver both soul and body into hell." -- Matthew 10:28

Even after all the warnings in Scripture about the ultimate fate of evildoers, the lasting message is one of hope, even for them: "The Lord....is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." -- 2 Peter 3:9

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Bonfire

"Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver." -- Acts 19:19

Brand-new Christians. Old-time mojo. A combination that couldn't last.

The 19th chapter of Acts tells the story of "many" people who came to believe in Christ, and found their established spiritual lifestyles out of synch with their new Savior. Apparently without hesitation, these people chose to rid themselves permanently of the whole system they had held to all their lives. Their new-found devotion to Christ was so strong they would not tolerate the presence of anything in their lives that would get in the way.

Didn't these Christians practice the essence of what Jesus talked about in Matthew 5:29-30? "If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away..and if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away..." It was so simple to them. Something conflicts with Christ? Remove it from your life! What else would a disciple do?

How do we compare to our brothers and sisters from 20 centuries ago? When we meet them in heaven, will they tell us this story, and look at us, eager to hear a story similar to theirs? Will we be excited to tell them what an impact Christ had on our lives, and how different we were from the world around us? Or, will we be embarrassed to admit how similar to the world we really were?

Will we have our own "bonfire" stories to tell?

Or, will we have to explain a spiritual garage full of junk and clutter we never had the courage to burn?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Seats & Lawsuits

These two seemingly random thoughts appear in the teachings of both Solomon and Jesus. To paraphrase the Scriptures:

*Don't seat yourself in a place of honor. Someone else might be more deserving. Better to take a lower seat on your own and have the host promote you, than the other way around. (Proverbs 25:6-7; Luke 14:7-11)

*Don't be quick to take someone to court. You might not win. You could even end up worse off. Better to come to some agreement privately with your adversary than to turn the matter over to a court. (Proverbs 25:8-10; Luke 12:58-59)

Can you imagine attending a wedding reception and seating yourself at the front table with the bride and groom, only to be bumped like Bob Uecker in front of the whole crowd? Or, being the guy who tried to sue a dry cleaner for millions over one pair of slacks? Or, being quick to challenge that disrespectful punk, only to be met by his three homies stepping out of the shadows?

What is the common thread between these two concepts: Don't take a position of honor for yourself, and don't be quick to enter into a fight?

The common thread can be found in Romans 12:3. "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

The reason for not doing the things warned against in Proverbs and Luke is the fact that we should all view ourselves from a perspective of humility, knowing that every person is made in the image of God, and equally in need of his grace.

A humble person is not one who thinks bad thoughts about himself, but rather one whose self-image is kept in the proper perspective. A humble person trusts God to sort out who needs to be honored, who gets credit for what, who is right or wrong in a conflict, and whether a conflict even needs to exist. A humble person does not make the mistake of stepping into honor or conflict, only to find he has stepped into something else altogether.

Humility: the best way to keep egg off your face.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Mother's Example

"Let it be to me according to your word." -- Mary to the angel Gabriel, Luke 1:38

"Father, if it is your will, take this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done." -- Jesus in prayer, Luke 22:42

Do you see a close similarity between these two quotes? Don't they express the same idea? The same submission to the will of God? The same willingness to set aside personal feelings about what His will might involve? Surely it is something more than mere coincidence that this same attitude is put into action in the lives of both this mother and her son.

Jesus, who was with God from the beginning, had to have known Mary long before he became her child. He knew her heart and mind before she raised him. He knew that becoming her son would expose her to accusations of fornication, as well as every mother's nightmare of being preceded in death by her child. He knew the joys and griefs Mary would experience before she ever experienced them. He knew what pain lay ahead for him personally, but he submitted to the will of God anyway.

Mary was willing to be the living fulfillment of prophecy by carrying out the virgin birth of the Son of God. She had to have guessed what people would think and assume and say behind her back, but she submitted to the will of God anyway. She had no way of knowing how Joseph would react, or whether her engagement to him would be secure, but she submitted to God's will anyway.

Joseph, for his part, submitted to God's will by going through with his marriage to Mary in spite of a pregnancy he knew he was not responsible for. Even though he believed the baby was from God, he knew the potential damage to his reputation, and he chose to submit to the will of God anyway.

Scripture does not tell us the extent of his parents' influence on Jesus. But it's clear that both of his earthly parents lived out submission to the will of God at some personal cost. It can't be a coincidence that, 33 years later, their precious son did the exact same thing.

What do our children see in our lives? Do they see submission to the will of God? Do they see parents living in obedience to God, or do they see that as a concept paid only lip service?

Children grow up and make their own choices about Jesus, but those choices may very well be echoes of what our children saw in our lives years and years before.

Friday, January 18, 2008

We all have our fears

I've noticed something the last few times I've given Benjamin his bath.

When it's time to get out, I usually open up the drain first, then get him out to dry off while the water is draining out of the tub. I've noticed, when the water starts draining out, that Benjamin quickly pulls his toys out of the water and sets them up around the tub, safely on "dry land", then hurriedly stands up to get out of the tub, all the while casting glances back at the drain. He's never actually said this, but it appears to me that he might be thinking he and his toys will go right down that drain with the water if they are unfortunate enough to be left in the tub till the bitter end. (How noble to ensure the toys' safety before bailing out himself!)

Of course, Benjamin is only three, and at that age, he can imagine many things to be afraid of that can't really happen. (If you saw Kristi's post about Benjamin's infatuation with the vacuum, this has been a slow progression from total fear to fond fascination.)

Imagining things to be afraid of? To worry about? Things that can't happen? Surely we don't do that!

A few things that can't happen to the Christian:

*Being forgotten by God.

*Being alone in this world.

*Being confronted with temptation too powerful to resist.

*Having our place in Christ's body taken away from us against our will.

Please share anything else you can add to this list.

"God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." -- II Timothy 1:7

A Murder Plot

"Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus." -- John 12:9-11

Religious leaders plotting to murder an innocent man for political reasons?

It is amazing the places we can find ourselves when we let Satan take the wheel. Who were these men? These chief priests who plotted to murder Lazarus? Imagine all their work over all their years, becoming who they were, men of such great influence. Surely not one of them ever dreamed in all his life that he would one day take part in a murder plot, making plans to violate the very Law he spent his entire life standing for and teaching from. But, that is where Satan can take a person, to a place exactly the opposite of everything the sinner ever stood for.

How many examples do we have to see?

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Grudge

Have you ever read the story of King Solomon taking the throne in Israel?

The story takes place in the first three chapters of I Kings, and there is much more to it than most realize. King David grows old and pronounces his son, Solomon, the next king. (A great story of forgiveness and restoration, as Solomon was the second son of David and Bathsheba.) However, Solomon's half-brother Adonijah proclaims himself king, touching off a conflict ending in his own death. When Solomon finally becomes king, God grants him anything he desires, and he requests wisdom. That's the part of the story most of us remember.

But, a series of events takes place before Solomon assumes the throne. David, on his death bed, gives his son Solomon a list of instructions and requests.

First, David instructs Solomon to follow God's commands. Then, to execute Joab in retaliation for Joab's murders of Abner and Amasa. Then, to show kindness to the sons of Barzillai, because he was loyal to David when Absalom tried to usurp the throne. Then, to execute Shimei in retaliation for his cursing of King David along the road when David fled Jerusalem to escape Absalom.

David dies after handing his son, the new king, this clipboard of payback. Solomon fulfills all of his father's wishes, killing Joab and Shimei to settle David's grudges against them.

I've never quite been able to understand this incident. Was David authorized by God to exact vengeance on these men? Not according to any Scripture I know of. Even if David had been authorized to kill these men, why would he not have just done it himself while he was king? Why burden his son with this baggage at the very beginning of his administration? And, why did God allow all this to happen? The Scripture just doesn't say.

The part of this story that bothers me the most is Shimei. In 2 Samuel 18:19-23, when David regains his throne after his son Absalom is killed, Shimei begs for mercy from King David, fully expecting to be executed for his insults. However, David shows mercy to him, swears to him he will not be killed, and allows him to live. Then, years later, on his death bed, out of all the things in all the world he could think about and leave with his son, he brings up this grudge, that he apparently never let go of, breaks his promise to Shimei, and tells his son to kill him. In fact, he cites his original promise not to kill Shimei, creating a loophole allowing someone else to kill Shimei for him. David's wording to Solomon is especially chilling: "Bring his gray hair down to the grave with blood."

David is one of my biblical heroes. I'm named after him. But this story, I believe, reveals some of his darkest personal flaws.

How can we not resolve to be forgiving people, seeing these examples of bitterness over past wrongs in their ugliest full form? How easy to judge David, but also how easy to hold grudges ourselves.

Easy to Say, Hard to Do, Not an Option

I was thrown a curve today.

Someone said some things to me that really hurt and upset me. It was deliberate, personal, and spiteful. It was also untrue and undeserved. It was a strange experience for me. I usually get along with everyone, and I had honestly tried to accommodate this person for some time. It was no one in my family, and not a friend; just someone I used to have to interact with off and on. Our dealings were done, and the person took the opportunity for a parting stab in the gut. I resented the audacity, and began mentally refuting every false claim and vindicating myself. But, there was no purpose in that.

Not every day are we called to put into practice, in such a real way, the things we claim to believe.

Matthew 5:44-45: "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven."

Matthew 6:14-15: "If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses."

Proverbs 19:11: "The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression."

I couldn't help but wonder: If God calls me to forgive others as He forgives me, does the feeling I felt today come close to what He must feel when I sin? Does He see the same audacity, falsehood, and undeserved insult that I saw today?

I resolve to overlook this transgression, and to forgive the individual who hurt me today. I want to.

But, I'm not there yet. I still want to detail how I was right and this person was wrong. I want others to see and know how wrong this person was. But, those are exactly the things I'm called to let go of. I must let go of the idea that this person owes me something. No apology is ever coming. No confrontation will do any good. Only the Holy Spirit working in my heart can give me what I need to let it all go, knowing I am just as guilty of doing the same thing to God.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It was a good day...

Bible class went great. We had 40-50 students, and I was very impressed by them. They were attentive, responsive, and respectful. I would like to have the chance to teach their class again someday. Kristi and I enjoyed it very much. This is the kind of experience that makes me feel like God is using me for good. I hope there is more in the future.

After church, Kristi and I had lunch at home with the boys, and later, took the boys walking with the wagon! Good stuff.

Interesting day in the NFL today:

If someone had told me one Manning brother would win his playoff game, and the other would lose, I would have guessed the opposite of what actually happened.

You always hear the cliche that it's hard to beat the same team three times in one season, and the Cowboys proved it today.

Has Jessica Simpson become Yoko Ono?

T.O., usually thought of as a selfish player, tearfully gave one of the most team-oriented interviews I've ever heard.

Jr. Seau, playing for the Patriots, will now face his first team, the Chargers, in the AFC Championship Game.

Will the Raiders ever be good again?

Why do I enjoy following the NFL? Don't know. Just do.

Teaching Bible Class...

I'm scheduled to teach a combined Jr. High/High School Bible class at church in the morning. Hope it goes great! Who knows? Maybe a kid will pick up something that makes a difference. That's what it's all about.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pancakes at Sunrise

OK, I'm throwing something out there that came to my mind at random during lunch duty today. I work with middle school students, and sometimes I am reminded of what I was like at their age. Today, I remembered something I did once when I was in junior high, back in Mrs. Forsythe's Spanish class.

One day, Mrs. Forsythe gave us an assignment in which we had to translate titles of movies from Spanish into English. We were allowed to work in groups, so there was a lot of conversation going on around the classroom. I was working with my friend Kevin Grow, and we were doing well on the assignment. As the class went along, several students noticed how well we were doing, and began asking us for help with the translations. Initially, we helped them, but then a great idea came to mind. Our classmates were accepting our answers with such blind faith, that the door was wide open to just make up some random stuff and pass it off as the answers to the assignment.

So, a legend was born: The movie classic "Pancakes at Sunrise".

Yes, I passed off "Pancakes at Sunrise" to a classmate or two, who put this down as the answer to a question on a Spanish assignment. To tell the truth, it was probably more than one or two who turned in their assignment with this idiotic answer.

Where did this title come from? I haven't the foggiest idea. I think I wanted to come up with something that sounded real to the unsuspecting answer-moocher, but would also sound hilarious to my Jr. High mind. (Not sure how much I've matured since then, because I still laugh about this story.)

At risk of ruining whatever respect you might have for me, I'll go ahead and share "the rest of the story". Once we had a title in place, it was too fun to resist coming up with a plot for the movie. As stupid as this sounds, the story was about a blind man who ate pancakes at a diner each morning for breakfast, before bicycling off to go about his daily routine. Sadly, one day, he biked right into a large wood chipper and perished. Without his daily business, so did the diner. I realize this leaves many questions unanswered, but that's about as far as we got, and it's probably for the best.

Kristi might ask: "You remember this nonsense from 20 years ago, but you don't remember (fill in the blank) from last week?"

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Can You Really Unring a Bell?

One of my all-time heroes is Spider-Man. Well, that's a little misleading. I have not actually read a Spider-Man comic book in many years. I had quite a collection back in the day, though. (For me, "the day" is, like, the late 80's, dude.) One of the classic issues of "the Amazing Spider-Man" was the one in which Peter Parker and Mary Jane got married. Remember it?

Anyway, I just happened to spot an article online today that said the comic book writers introduced a new storyline in which the villain, with some supernatural power, undoes Peter and Mary Jane's marriage, and returns them to their pre-marriage lives, with no memory of their relationship at all. (Drama, drama, drama....)

Ha! Ha! What a can of worms to open up!

According to the article I was reading, many loyal Spider-Man readers are upset about the storyline. Of course, in real life, you can't unring a bell, no matter what the script says. Words and actions are powerful, and they leave marks, good or bad.

But, God forgives sin, right? Isn't that making it like it was never there? I would say, "Yes", but in a spiritual sense only. The earthly consequences of our mistakes and sins don't go away when we're forgiven.

I pray that I can be the husband and father who won't have to wish for a do-over.

P.S. On the Spider-Man front, my youngest brother Sam has been in faithful possession of the Spider-Man comics collection since I gave them all to him, I think, when I graduated from high school. ('91; yes, I'm ancient...) Sam, you deserve them. You've taken better care of them than I think I would have.

P.P.S. Can there be too much of a good thing? The same article I was reading linked to an article about a possible Spider-Man 4 movie! Don't get me wrong; I love it, but I am also afraid of pushing it a little too far.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Too Much Lightning? & My Favorite Sock

Our boys have brought us so much joy. One of the most fun things to observe is when they become interested in something all on their own, without being prompted or encouraged. In Benjamin's case, we may have to ask whether there is too much of a good thing with Lightning McQueen. As you can see from the picture, Benjamin takes Lightning pretty seriously. The first things I can remember really being into and collecting were those Star Wars action figures. Remember those? Well, the "Cars" series has more than fit the bill for Benjamin.

By the way, which Star Wars figures were your favorites? Mine were: Boba Fett, C3PO, R2D2, and this "Snow-Gear" Han Solo that Grandma Forrister got for me. (I'm sure she remembers this...)

Benjamin also said something funny the other day, and Kristi told me about it. She was having him help her switch a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer, and she was telling him what each item was as she handed it to him. When she said, "This is daddy's sock," he responded with, "Oh, it's his favorite!" So, I guess I have a favorite sock. Not a favorite pair, mind you, just a favorite sock.

Just realized, there is an awful lot of carpet to look at in these two photos. I'll try to mix it up a bit more in the future.

Hope you're having a good day!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kristi! (Tomorrow) :)

We are in the midst of celebrating Kristi's "Birthday Week". Kristi's big day is tomorrow, January 6th!

Kristi, thank you for all you do for me and the boys, and we all wish you a very happy birthday and many more to come!

We love you,

David, Benjamin, and Jonathan

Friday, January 4, 2008

Praying for Our Boys

If you have kids, what specifically do you pray for, when you pray for them and with them?

Kristi and I pray for a lot of things related to our boys' lives, of course, but we have a few things that we always request.

We pray that Benjamin and Jonathan will each have a healthy body, a strong mind, and a soft heart.

We pray that Benjamin and Jonathan will each develop their own deep faith in God and knowledge of His Word.

We pray that Benjamin and Jonathan will find their fulfillment in God, not in peers.

We pray that Benjamin and Jonathan will both want God to use their lives for His purposes.

We pray that both Benjamin and Jonathan will be blessed with Christian wives and families of their own someday.

We pray that we will always be a true guide for them, pointing them to Jesus.

We pray that our boys will always feel close to us, and keep us close, even as they become independent of us someday.

Well, now that I'm going, I could go on and on. And, no, we don't remember all this every time. But, these are some things that are always on our hearts.

I said, "No, No, No!"

Have you heard the song "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse? I have heard it several times since this past summer. Once you hear it, it's hard to forget. It sounds like something from an earlier era, but the lyrics are all too up-to-date. The gist of it is that the singer has an alcohol or drug problem, but refuses to go to rehab. "They tried to make me go to rehab; I said, 'No, No, No!'" In fact, the singer herself has been in the news for substance abuse problems since this song became a hit.

I was out running an errand tonight when this song came on the radio. While I listened to it, I got to thinking about how easy it is to see how someone else is willfully passing up every opportunity to make things right with God. But, am I just as guilty?

It's not a new problem. Jeremiah 18:11-12 is an example of God's people saying basically the same thing to Him. When the prophet warns the people to change their ways, their response is, "That is hopeless! We will walk according to our own plans." It's easy to see their error, and easy to judge them for it. In fact, God did.

But again, I have to ask: Am I just as guilty? Is there sin in my life that I stubbornly hold onto? When reminded of the need to repent, do I respond like the singer does? May it never be.