Reaching Back with Repentance

Steve Arterburn

 

 

Most Americans admire those who practice ‘rugged individualism.’ But in our emphasis on individual freedom, we often lose sight of our corporate responsibility. As Christians, we’re individuals but we’re also part of a people. We’re called to benefit from the work of others, to suffer with others, and to bear responsibility with others. This may not seem fair, but it’s a fact.

 

You see, our ties reach all the way back to Adam and Eve. We need to be saved because, as it says in the book of Romans, ‘Adam’s one sin brought condemnation upon everyone.’ But Roman’s goes on to say that this very principle of corporate connectedness makes salvation possible through our unity with Christ, for ‘Christ’s one act of righteousness makes all people right in God’s sight and gives them life’.

 

When the Israelites returned from their exile, they realized how both they and their ancestors had failed God’s commands, and they were overcome with grief. In that repentant grief, however, they heard the good news of grace, and this revived and renewed their love for God and their desire to obey him.

 

Ask God to bring to mind any sins or wrongdoings you, or even your family, has committed so you may confess and let go of them. It’s a powerful exercise, but seeing God’s mercy over all your sin can be one of the most liberating experiences ever.

 

A Family Blessing

When Jesus began His public ministry at about thirty years of age, He left the security of home for the uncertainties of life on the road. But during His travels, there was one place he loved to visit: that little house in the village of Bethany where His friends Martha, Mary, and Lazarus lived. The three were siblings, and we learn how close Jesus was to them when Lazarus died.

The sisters sent a message to Jesus that Lazarus was sick; but by the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus was dead, and they were mourning his death. Martha and Mary rushed out to meet Jesus and expressed their frustration that He hadn’t come earlier.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus saw how sad the sisters and other mourners were, that ‘He was moved with indignation and was deeply troubled.’ He was indignant because He, Jesus, who created life, was dealing with death—a stark contradiction of everything that He is and stands for. Jesus was saddened by Mary and Martha’s grief, and by Lazarus’ suffering. Jesus wept openly for His friend, prompting onlookers to say, ‘See how much he loved him.’

Are you grieving the loss of someone you love? We would consider it our great privilege to share the love and wisdom of Christ with  you. Please prayerfully consider joining us at our next New Life Weekend.

Steve Arterburn

A Servant’s Mindset

Steve Arterburn

 

Guys, your sin is not a private matter. It hurts everyone around you. The questions I would ask you to ask yourself are these: Is the power of sin at work in my life? Am I being honest about myself? Am I struggling with anger? Am I harboring bitterness? Do I have a critical spirit? Does my wife have my permission to speak to me about these things? Or is she afraid to bring anything up to me because I’ll snap at her or shut her out?

Men, what does God want you to do when you find the power of sin at work in you? Do you have the right or permission to isolate your heart when someone tries to come near? Are you justified telling your wife’either explicitly or by your actions’to get used to it, and join you in covering it up for the kids’ sake? The answer to both questions is a resounding ‘No’! The Lord is clear and consistent on what he wants from you: ‘Be earnest, and repent.’

Yet so many Christian men feel that their wives shouldn’t confront their sin, but should instead keep their distance, remain silent and silently pray. Well, praying silently and doing nothing more is God’s plan for dealing with the hard hearts of unsaved husbands! So if you already acknowledge Christ as your Lord and Savior, expect and be open to connection with your wife and friends. You really don’t have a license to shut out the people who love you and are reaching out to you. Take a step to be open ‘ to be humble, to be a man of God, in Christ!