We live in a society where passing the blame for something we did or do is commonplace. We blame our parents for our upbringing, we blame food for our over eating problems or somebody else for making us angry, resulting in our reacting poorly or sinfully. We keep ourselves from moving forward, letting go and letting God work it out. We are often too afraid to take a look in the mirror and be honest with the real reason for the problem…us.
For instance, say as a man we have a problem with lust, so to combat this issue we blame the Internet or TV. We also blame women who show too much skin or those who look too attractive because it causes us to lust. To combat this, we stay off of the Internet and ban TV. We then make the women around us suffer for our sins and make them conform to a standard that we feel comfortable with in an attempt to justify ourselves and cover up our sin. In truth the sin is still in our hearts, nothing has changed, and to make matters worse we then judge others for not conforming to our self-imposed standards.
3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?
in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.
Religion has often made women the subjects of blame for the sins and issues of men. We have made them carry our crosses, bare our shame with long garments covering themselves from head to toe, and have discouraged them from trying to look beautiful. We have told them that it was outward holiness unto God, but in reality God did not require this from them, men and religion did, and so they walk through the streets carrying our burdens upon them for the whole world to see.
Colossians 2:20 – 23
20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22(referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
Do rules this stop sexual immorality in the church? No. Do rules this change the hearts of men? No. The New Testament is very clear that rule making doesn’t work (see my article on The Power of the Cross).
Lets take a look at Matthew 11. This is an incredible passage because Christ is telling us that He knows we are burdened with legalism, religion, and we can’t bear it our sins and guilt ourselves, if we do it His way, we will find rest in Him. Wow, how great and loving is our God? He knows us, He loves us, provides for us and understands what we need. He came to bring us life so we could live free from condemnation. He came to take away our sins and carry our burdens.
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
It’s difficult to look at ourselves and ask hard questions like, “What am I doing?” “Why am I really doing this?” “Is the real problem me?” and “how can I make a change?” Only when we are honest with Christ and ourselves, we can give our issues to Him and so that He can take them away, bare our sins; only by His blood can we find true redemption. I’ll leave you with a little song Michael Jackson wrote a while back that really does speak truth.
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change