Answer for Ourselves

The LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. But go now, lead the people where I told you. Behold, My angel shall go before you; nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

Exodus 32:33-34

This verse comes at the end of what I’m going to call “The Golden Calf Incident.” It’s a familiar story, one of the portions of Exodus that consistently makes it into the movie versions of Moses’ life. Moses goes up the mountain to talk with God and comes down to find that the people have made an idol while he was away. The next part seldom makes the theatrical release, as Moses grinds up the golden calf, scatters the gold dust into water, and makes the people drink it. Pretty graphic way of showing someone that their so-called god can’t do anything to help them. Maybe directors and Hollywood types leave that out because they can’t stand to see their god, Money, treated that way. Regardless….

This weekend, starting Friday, possibly Thursday, I’ve been aggravated with sin: my own and that of others. I’ve been particularly annoyed by our half-measures — especially my own. I’ve read some things on Facebook and around the web; heard some things on the news that have made me want to burst forth in long tirades about the wrongness and wrongheadedness of the things I’ve been hearing and reading. And I’ve been torn over whether or not I should do just that. These verses, oddly enough, are comforting.

Reading these verses reminds me that I am responsible for the actions of only one person: me. I will be held accountable for how I treat my wife and how I treat my friends; how I love my daughter and how I raise her; when and if I speak up as God wanted me to. But those are all things within my little sphere of influence. All the things I’ve been reading and hearing are outside my sphere of influence; beyond my ability to affect any meaningful change. Those persons who are doing the things that trouble me will have to give account for their own actions when they stand before God. If the actions are indeed sin then they will be revealed as such. If the actions were not sinful then I will be glad I held my peace.

I may, if God so leads, write about some of the things bothering me, but not until such time as I have allowed God to bring His peace into me so that the writing is not a vitriol-fueled rant, but a calm, considered effort at bringing a brother or sister back into fellowship. That is what I would want them to do for me. Should I do less for them?

In the mean time, God knows what is right and what is wrong and whether or not I should write or speak and I will trust that He will handle those I’ve heard about as well as the one who has heard (me … and LOTS of others). In the end, we all answer for ourselves.

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