Ed Lane's Blog

Saturday, October 22, 2005

A new Christian Youth Minister pauses for thought....it's been nearly ten years since I was last full time and I didn't have blogs in those days. I guess that at the moment, nothing I say will be too profound. I'm hoping that you will be more so. Help me out to start with....

Anybody got any clever ideas on how one communicates Grace and Accountability without 'over egging' either?

Answers on a postcard....


  • He attended camp every summer. He had not missed a year of kids camp and had perfect attendance at youth camps.

    As predictable as his camp registration was his response at the altar. By the first or second evening Stephen (name has been changed) would have a significant emotional experience. He would run forward, fall on the altar, and begin to weep and repent. He always repented of the same sin.

    One night following his recommitment experience we shareda Dr. Pepper and dialogued about forgivness, grace, and accountability. I challenged him to do something he had never been asked to do before: "Stephen, you need to learn to think before you sin."

    He looked at me slightly confused, but eagerly asked, "What do you mean?"

    I explained to him that sinning is something we all know about. "All have sinned..." (Romans 3:23). The temptation to sin is strong and it hits us daily, yet it's God's desire that we do not sin. I encouraged him to develop the habit of thinking before he sinned. He chuckled and said, "I have been told to think before I speak, but never to think before I sin."

    It's a good practice to think before we sin because:

    The damage sins causes is oftentimes hard to repair. Perhaps the reason we call grace amazing is because God will forgive us anytime, anyplace, and for anything. But no matter how sincere our repentance is to the Lord, sometimes the damage that sin causes is tough to repair.

    Just ask the 15-year-old girl who is sincerely sorry for compromising her moral standards, but is faced with the truth of a positive pregnancy test. Certainly God can forgive the sin of promiscuity, but the consequences are hers to live with.

    Sin will take you father than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and hurt you more than you ever thought possible. Just stop and think.

    The evidence of sin is impossible to hide. This fascinating principle is found in God's Word. "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23).

    A certain woman, preparing to entertain guests, went to a small grocery store to buy food. She topped at the mean counter and asked the attendant for a large chicken. He reached into the cold storage compartment, grabbed the last chicken he had, and placed it on the scale. "This one weighs 4 pounds, ma'am," he said.

    "I'm not sure that will be enough," the woman replied. "Don't you have a bigger one?"

    The attendant put the chicken back into the compartment, pretended to search through the melting ice for another one, and then brought out the same bird, discretly applying some finger pressure to the scale. "Ah," he said with a small; "this one weighs 6 pounds."

    "I'm just not sure," the woman frowned. "I'll tell you what--wrap them both up for me."

    God's love for us is so awesome that He doesn't want us to live with the guilt, shame, hurt, or hopelessness that sin produces; therefore, He is willing to expose our sin in hope that we wil confess it and reestablish a relationship with Him. That's love.

    It is true: if we confess our sins, He will forgive. However, if He uncovers our sin, it hurts. God loves us too much to let us live with hidden sin. "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known" (Luke 12:2, NIV).

    The respect we lose is difficul to regain. A Christlike reputation is one of the most effective witnessing tools we have. It takes a lifetime to develop, but it can be lost by simply not thinking. If Satan can tarnish your reputation and erase the respect that others have for you, then he is successfully accomplishing his agenda.

    Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13). If salt loses its flavor or distinction, what good is it? Reputations are critical in representing and advancing the kingdom of God.

    All of us have sinned. All are tempted to sin. But not all of us have to sin. "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provoke a way out so that you can stand up under it" (I Corinthians 10:13, NIV).

    If there is one thing better than being forgiven, it's not having to be forgiven at all. Think before you sin.

    By Blogger 172598, at 2:07 PM  

  • Thanks 172598. Tell me more about yourself sometime

    By Blogger Ed Lane, at 9:51 AM  

  • I was only providing a view on Grace and Accountability as presumably pondered by your post. I believe that we are all still accountable regardless of the level of grace afforded to us. Revealing sin may not seem graceful, however, promotes accountability.

    By Blogger 172598, at 12:36 PM  

  • 172598 - Thanks for your thoughts. I entirely agree that accountability is crucial. But is our motivation to 'not' sin ultimately Gratitude for Grace or concern about consequence....Dietrich Bonhoffer talked of cheap grace, i.e. we should avoid sin in response to a realisation of what it cost God to bestow Grace upon us.

    Ephes. 2:8-10 (ANIV)
    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— [9] not by works, so that no-one can boast. [10] For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    There is an interesting tension between Grace and works in these verses. I would value your insight.

    By Blogger Ed Lane, at 4:28 AM  

  • We all, at a minimum, have fine differences in what we believe to be the correct way to conduct ourselves - our lives. The monks have written much of what we study and interpret to be the context of Christianity. But how much of that was their interpretation? I'm not especially scholared in the writings and have difficulty understanding how these writings fit into our daily lives specifically. I believe that the writings are NOT analogous to what we often think of as 'the law', that is, something that has logic, is rules-based, and can be applied specifically. Rather, our conscious must guide us when the rules are vague. In addition, you may not apply your rules to another who is operating in good conscious. So for me, Accountability is our conscious at work. Insofar as Gratitude or thankfulness for the Grace afforded to us in connection with holding ourselves Accountable for our actions verses the fear of reprisal – that depends on maturity and understanding. Again, "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known" (Luke 12:2, NIV). If we know that all is revealed, then there should not be fear of reprisal or consequence – revelation is inevitable. Those that live hoping that revelation will not befall them do not understand.

    By Blogger 172598, at 11:11 AM  

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