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Focus: Not making excuses
James 4:17 (NKJV) Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Knowing right from wrong should be obvious, right? But it’s not always. Sometimes we don’t want to make the effort to check out the facts to know whether a particular thing is okay. We go by our ‘gut’ and follow our feelings. Knowing to do right involves knowing the Word of God…or at least taking the time to search scripture and see what it has to say.
James 4:17 is a sobering verse—or at least it should be. There are different ways of looking at the meaning. In one way, it says, if a person knows what is right and doesn’t do it—the fact that they didn’t do what they knew was right makes it a sin. You may have heard of ‘a sin of omission’. It’s when somebody ‘omits’ doing something right—and that’s what this kind of interpretation refers to.
The other meaning is pretty obvious, too. ‘When you know something is wrong and you do it anyway, it is sin.’ This meaning is derived by inverting the principle. Either way you look at it, the knowledge of right or wrong is what we are concerned about.
A person with access to the Word of God can’t really claim ignorance in matters that pertain to right and wrong—and sin. Someone who didn’t bother to seek for wisdom isn’t free from accountability to the Word. If you know the answers are available and you don’t search them out, you can’t say—”Well, I didn’t know any better.”
It all goes back to James 4:17 again. If you are faced with making an important decision that could be right or wrong and you know the answers are in the Word, yet you don’t seek them and you decide to do the wrong thing and then claim ignorance—that doesn’t excuse the wrong.
The only thing that excuses our wrongs is the grace and mercy of God through the Blood of Jesus Christ.
When we try to defend ourselves from sin we committed before we knew the Lord ‘because of ignorance’, that is no excuse, either. The whole point of the matter is, we are without excuse. Sin is sin…and when we sin, we really ought to admit it and plead for grace and mercy through the Blood of Jesus and not make excuses about not realizing we did something wrong. That only compounds the issues.
Human nature wants to look right, sound right, feel right, and smell right. It’s hard to admit when we’re wrong. The difficulty of admitting we’re wrong is the problem that stands in the way of millions of people being able to find the heart to start on the road to recovery.
Even after some of us started on the journey, we wanted to continue justifying our reasons for allowing our lives to go in the direction they did. It’s easy to blame others for our own choices. It makes us feel better when we think what we did wasn’t totally our own fault. But as long as we place the blame on anyone else but ourselves, we are not truly taking responsibility for our actions. In order for your recovery to ever work, you have to be willing to say that the choices you made were your own. Someone may have influenced you—but you agreed.
It’s not easy to admit anything was ‘all your fault.’ It seems much more honorable to think that ‘the devil made you do it’ or another person was the culprit. Sugar coating or glossing over your own guilt is sin, too. The only thing that saves us is admitting we were wrong and pleading the Blood of Jesus Christ.
We will not know true freedom from our sin until we are able to admit we were fully at fault—no matter how hard it may be. But finally reaching that point is a wonderful day of discovery. Coming to this inevitable conclusion is the beginning of all things in your search for real peace.
Romans 5:1-5 (NKJV) says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Who was given to us.”
Declaration: I will find new strength by taking full responsibility for all of the wrongs I have committed in my life. I will not try to excuse myself or blame anyone else. I will search the scriptures for the truth in my particular situation and humbly claim the Blood of Jesus Christ as my only pardon.
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