BE HOLY

Are you looking for an excuse for your failings to live morally pure and good each day?  The excuses won’t be hard to find.  The sources for such excuses are all around us.  You can go to facebook and look at the excuses offered by multitudes of people for wrongs in their life.  You could turn on the TV and watch just about any show, including the news and get more examples of good excuses to be offered.  Go to any store and look at the magazine rack.  You won’t even have to read the articles.  The titles of the articles often give you enough information to know what the excuses will be.  You can even go to church and listen as people explain why they got involved in some wrong in life or why they failed to do something they knew they should be doing and the examples of good excuses will be abundant.

With such an abundant number of excuses and the fact that you can find them anywhere, don’t it make you wonder who is convinced by the excuses?  Do you think God accepts our excuses for not doing right?  One of the best excuse makers I ever read about was King Saul in the book of I Samuel.  He was richly blessed by God to be made the king.  He came from the smallest of the tribes of Israelites.  His family wasn’t a prominent family.  They were not even a wealthy or well to do family.  Yet God saw something in him that caused him to have Samuel anoint him as king over Israel.  At the beginning when Saul was humble before God and the people, he did well.  But it didn’t take long for him to fail miserably.  It started with Samuel telling him to gather the men together to go out in battle against their enemy.  He told Saul to wait for him for seven days and he would come and offer a sacrifice to God and ask for God’s blessings on them as they went into battle.  Saul waited seven days and Samuel hadn’t arrived.  The men were getting restless and some were forsaking him.  In desperation Saul called the men together and offered the sacrifice himself that was supposed to be done by the priest.  No sooner had he made the offering than Samuel arrived.  “What have you done?” Samuel asked.  His excuse seemed real to him.  “I’ve been waiting seven days and you didn’t come.  The people were restless and many were forsaking me, so I forced myself to go ahead and make the offering to God and seek his blessings.”  Did Samuel or the Lord buy his excuse?  No, Samuel declared he had done a foolish thing.  He started down a road that would lead to his final ruin.  Every time he did something stupid he had another excuse, usually centered around the idea that the people had forced him to do what was wrong.  But it only led to God’s total rejection of Saul as king and as a man of His.

Did you listen to the testimony of Mr. Castro who had kidnapped and raped the three women over a period of years?  He declared he wasn’t a bad person.  He tried to defend himself by saying that he didn’t really mistreat the women and that he didn’t force them to have sex with him.  Finally, he gave as the reason for his behavior that he had become addicted to pornography.

One huge lesson that ought to stand out is that pornography isn’t some innocent recreational behavior that has no relation to the actions or attitudes of the person.  What it does is dehumanize women.  It sanctifies the horrible behavior of forcing oneself on another person.  It makes it look innocent to rape, to drug or to violate another person.  Pornography becomes more widespread all the time and the efforts to defend it as innocent grow all the time.  It is a lustful behavior that destroys morality, tares apart families and causes people to lose all respect for another person as a human being made in the image of God.

But it isn’t just pron that is having such horrible effects on people.  Think of all the people of all ages who get involved in violent video games that involve murder, rape and abusive behavior.  Some young person is caught committing a crime against humanity in which they treat another person worse than an animal.  Yet they show no remorse and excuse their behavior by saying that had become addicted to violent video games.

Tie with all of this the reality that so often this horrible behavior is carried on by people who are believers in God who are members of churches and attend worship regularly.  How often have you read that the moral behavior of those who claim to be Christ followers is no different from that of those who don’t believe in God at all?  Someone will say, “But Leon we are all sinners.  The difference is that we are forgiven.”  I know that all sin.  But trying to justify bad behavior with such statements misses the mark by a million miles.  God didn’t say come to me and then live any way you want.  He called us to “Be holy as I am holy.”  Sure we may fail in our efforts to do right and serve God.  But the real Christian isn’t trying to excuse their failures by blaming them on some addiction or bad company.  They admit “I sinned”.  They repent of the sin and turn back to the way that is right.

Notice God didn’t say, “Act holy,” “Talk holy,” “Pretend to be holy,” or anything of that nature.  His challenge for all time has been “Be holy as I am holy, says the Lord.”  Don’t you think it is something we ought to do?

About leoninlittlerock

Preaching minister for Central church of Christ in Little Rock. Author of over 20 books including: When a Loved one Dies, Spiritual Development, Skid Marks on the Family Drive, Challenges in the church, To Know Christ and A Drink of Living Water.
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