Have you ever experienced the frustration of knowing the truth but no one believed you? Joshua did’and he had to live with the consequences of this for almost forty years.
Joshua was one of the twelve Israelites chosen to spy out the land of Canaan. Their report on what they saw would help and entire nation of people make a decision about entering the Promised Land. When the twelve spies gave their report, ten said it’d be impossible to conquer the land. Joshua and Caleb agreed that the task would be difficult, but they urged the people to trust God to help them. They saw God as loving, powerful, and able to lead them safely into the Promised Land.
The people, however, rebelled and sided with the majority report. They ran from the responsibility of surrendering their lives to God. The result of their irresponsibility was tragic. A whole generation’with the exception of Joshua and Caleb’died in the desert.
Many of us think we can escape pain by avoiding responsibility and its demands. What we fail to realize is that we often experience a much deeper pain when we run away from responsibility than we do when we accept it. Joshua experienced significant pain in his life despite putting God first in his life. But that pain was used by God to develop him into one of the most effective leaders in all of history.
Are you living with a strained relationship? Restoration of human relationships doesn’t happen instantaneously. If you’ve broken someone’s heart or trust, you have a responsibility to face your failures. And you also have the tough responsibility of avoiding the urge to blame others for the problems you’ve caused. It may take some time before you’re able to face up to your failures. Expect the process of restoration and regaining trust to take time.
The prophet Hosea was a remarkable man. He was told by God to marry a prostitute. His marriage was to be a living example to the nation of Israel of her infidelity toward God. It must have hurt Hosea deeply when his wife returned to her life of prostitution. Hosea said, ‘Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go and get your wife again. Bring her back to you and love her, even though she loves adultery. For the Lord still loves Israel even though the people have turned to other gods, offering them choice gifts”. Hosea needed some time before he could be close to his wife again, for such deep restoration takes time.
It’s your responsibility to wait patiently while God helps you restore your broken relationships and the hearts you may have broken. God can give those you’ve hurt love when love has been lost; he can help you trust and become trustworthy again, but these things take time.
The ‘rules’ practiced in today’s business world aren’t always the same as God’s rules, are they? Are you getting caught up in the game, trying to get as much as you can’are you tempted to cheat others or not give them their fair share? God will hold his men’you and I’accountable for this. We must take responsibility if we’ve sinned this way.
Take for example a man in the Bible named Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus’s hunger for riches drove him to take more than his fair share while he was collecting taxes from the Jews for the Roman government. He was hated by his own people as an extortioner and a traitor. But when Jesus reached out to him he changed dramatically. The book of Luke says, ‘Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘I will give half of my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!’ Jesus responded, ‘Salvation has come to his home today” (Luke 19:8-9).
When you honestly reflect on your life, you should be careful to consider whether you have taken more than your fair share in your dealings’business or personal. If so, it’s your responsibility to face the greed, the fear, the anger, and the pride that led you to behave dishonestly. Like Zacchaeus, true spiritual growth will be evidenced in practical ways. I hope you’ll take those courageous steps today.