RSS Feed

Tag Archives: blame

A God Without Discrimination

Whenever two or more individuals attempt to co-exist, there will always be conflict, disagreements and differences in opinions.  Whether you examine relationships like Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel or Samson and Delilah, blame, jealousy and manipulation are bound to occur.  Unfortunately, the fallen nature of mankind usually leads to some sort of discrimination.

God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us, Acts 15:8. 

In the history of America, considered one of the greatest countries in modern times, it too possesses sins against humanity.  A Civil War divided slave owners from the north who saw a day when slaves would be free.  For years woman weren’t given the opportunity to vote and youth were discarded like trash prior to child labor laws.  Each century has brought a new dilemma, with discrimination of some sort always at the forefront.

He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith, Acts 15:9.

During the middle of the first century as the church grew in size, cultural tensions arose to the surface.  Jewish Christians expected new converts to follow in the practices of Judaism.  Meanwhile, sects like the Judaizers began to add circumcision as a requirement to salvation.  This religious discrimination brought on a whole new sort of troubles.  Yet, as the apostles came together to discuss this matter, one thing was for certain.  Early Christians followed a God who did not discriminate, reuniting individuals through faith.

by Jay Mankus

Caught Up in the Moment

The raw emotion of sports can turn a stadium full of cheers into a motley crew ready to seek revenge on an official, player or umpire who cost their team the game.  Meanwhile, at home a calm viewer can become enraged in an instant, upset at a defining moment that caused the home team to lose.  F-bombs may fly, remotes soar and walls or televisions are in danger of the wrath of someone caught up in the moment.

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves, Philippians 2:3.

This fall I spent my Saturdays coaching my son’s 13-15 year old baseball team.  Known as Fall Ball, the purpose of this season is to help transition new or young players to a major league size field.  While the focus is suppose to be instructional, sometimes coaches, parents and players forget the reason for the season.  Winning tends to corrupt the controlling insecure and power hungry individuals.  Thus, when I make the transition from coach to umpire, calling balls and strikes for my pitchers, even I can get caught up in the moment.

One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor, Proverbs 29:23.

There is something about winning which can poison souls.  The more teams taste victory, the boisterous, cockier and prideful people can become.  When a losing team has its day in the sun, opposing coaches and parents have a hard time letting the unfortunate enjoy their victory.  Rather, blame and guilt is assigned to justify the reason behind each loss.   Perhaps, this is the logic behind C.S. Lewis’ chapter called the Great Sin.  According to Mere Christianity, eliminating competition diffuses pride.  Unfortunately, as soon as you try to figure out who is number one, even the godly can get caught up in the moment.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Injustice of Righteousness

Righteousness is a guiding virtue, a moral compass which leads individuals to a higher calling.  Although hiccups and slip ups will occur, God’s grace will wipe away the stains of sin.  Unfortunately, when the day of judgment comes, the Bible suggests there will be more souls in hell than heaven.  Subsequently, those standing outside the pearly gates will likely complain about the injustice of righteousness.

Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them, Mark 4:25.

Life on earth is just as unfair as the afterlife.  According to Jesus, the wealthy will continue to have while what little the poor possesses will be taken away.  This is one of those passages of the Bible which leaves more questions than answers.  The outsiders, anyone who does not believe in Jesus, John 14:6, and progressives won’t be pleased by Jesus’ comment.  The modern day Robinhood’s might consider this teaching to be an injustice of righteousness.

He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything, Mark 4:34.

Being left out of anything isn’t a pleasant feeling.  Whether its high school, work or a social network, everyone has experienced being the odd person out.  Denial, exclusion and rejection are forms of trials meant to toughen you up, James 1:2-4.  Nonetheless, you can’t change the facts inside of God’s Word.  In view of these truths, chose life so when your time is up, there will be no one else to blame, Deuteronomy 30:15-18.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Desperate for Leadership

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen, 1 John 4:20.

Most individuals talk a good game, yet when you put their actions under a microscope there isn’t much to be inspired by.  Perhaps a rise in narcissism is to blame, turning a blind eye to reality, living by the mantra, “do as I say, not as I do!”  Unfortunately, a lack of integrity, morality and quality parenting is feeding a generation of self-seekers, cutting corners to get ahead, whatever the cost.

But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes, 1 John 2:11.

Meanwhile, the middle class are stuck in the mud, dreaming of brighter days only to wake up to a living nightmare.  Peer pressure, political correctness and those seeking approval often decide to go with the flow, even if its the wrong direction.  The rest of the crowd, standing on the sidelines wait, is hoping a pied piper will come to their rescue.  In the meantime, souls are hungry and thirsting for leadership.

The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil, John 7:7.

In the absence of good character, its time for people to take a stand for what they believe.  Jesus knew the world hated him, yet his purpose in life was to fulfill the will of God the Father.  Likewise, the faith community need to get off their couches, find places to serve in their community and show the path for others to follow.  As Jesus once said, “the harvest is ready, but the workers are few.”   Get in the game today while there is still time left on life’s clock.

by Jay Mankus

 

Learning to Praise the Lord for the Little Things in Life

Anyone can handle blessings, like getting a hole in one on the first day of the New Year.  However, the moment you endure hardship, failure or loss, true character is revealed.  While relishing my hole in one stayed with me a couple of days, sudden disappointments put my faith to the test in the week that followed.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds – James 1:2.

As someone who use to riding an emotional roller coaster, celebrating the good before depression brings me back to earth, God is teaching me to remain even keel.  Thus, on New Year’s Day I took strides in the right direction, savoring the time with my children rather than feeding my own ego.  Whether I have a great or miserable day, praising the Lord for the little things like family, shelter and time spent together is crucial to prevent oneself from becoming burned out.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

The easy thing to do when trials strike is to cast blame, usually throwing God under the bus like Adam in the Garden.  Yet, with maturity comes perspective, seeing life’s events through the Lord’s eyes.   Upon hearing the news that his children died in an accident, Job replied, “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21.  Although I’m no where near the model Job set, I’m in the infant stages of learning to praise God for the little things in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

Self-Respect or Victimology

While working out last week at a local fitness center, I couldn’t help but over hear a serious conversation.  Discussing the recent Grand Jury verdict of Darren Wilson, each had a different perspective.  The woman spoke about the importance of having self-respect.  Meanwhile, the man played the victim, blaming the police and slavery for his woes.

Although I don’t have the clout of a minority, my father is an immigrant to this country.  Starting from scratch in upstate New York, excuses weren’t in his vocabulary.  Pushed by his mother, my dad earned his way into an Ivy League College and the Warner School of Business.  My father is living proof that if you develop discipline, self-respect and work hard, anything is possible.

On the other side of the spectrum, are those who play the victim card.  Adam and Eve emulated this endless circle after getting caught red handed with a half-eaten apple.  According to Moses, Adam blamed Eve, indirectly throwing God under the bus, “the woman you put me here with,” Genesis 3:12.  Not willing to take the fall, Eve redirected sole responsibility to the serpent, “he deceived me,” Genesis 3:13.  Subsequently, a generation of victims has been born.

Today, socioeconomics often play a vital role in the worldview you hold.  However, that doesn’t mean individuals can’t have a dream of a better life.  Although many fail, self-respect is a foundation for keeping hope alive.  Self-pity doesn’t solve any problems, its only an excuse to be held down by negativity.  Therefore, if you want to experience a slice of heaven on earth, turn in your victim card for faith in the Lord, Psalm 115:11.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Strangely Wrapped Gifts

My first gift in life was a severe speech impediment.  Whether you want to call it stammering or stuttering, either way I had a difficult time communicating.  Each time I opened my mouth, I never knew if hot air or words would come out.  Despite the frustration and pain, when I opened this box, inside I discovered an ability to express myself through writing.

At the pinnacle of my athletic career, the second strange present arrived in the form of reconstructive surgery.  Although a state championship in cross country was in my reach, God had other plans.  Watching from the sidelines on crutches, my team fell a few points short, stealing my only chance for a title.  Beyond this disappointment, an likely blessing came my way, standing on a podium of praise following a 3rd place finish in the 200 Individual Medley Relay.

The final gift came in waves, as a series of broken relationships.  I’m not sure if I was to blame or if fate had another destiny.  Regardless of the circumstances, this lack of connection brought me to my knees.  Humility, loneliness and spiritual isolation wasn’t a pleasant thing to unwrap.  Nonetheless, all these things occurred for a reason, 1 Peter 1:6–7.  Today, strangely wrapped gifts come in many shapes and sizes.  However, these life events are necessary to fulfill the words of Romans 8:38-39, developing a close bond to an unseen God and Savior.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

More Than Just A Curse Word

As a resident of the greater Philadelphia area, I understand the passion of Philly fans.  Although the main stream media continues to accuse them of throwing snow balls at Santa Claus, most season ticket holders wear their emotions on their sleeves.  If you add alcohol to a bad call or break, thoughts become verbalized.  Thus, if you attend an Eagles game on a Sunday, God’s name may be used in a slightly different context than church.  Phrases such as “Jesus Christ, God dam it and Holy bleep” are reactions to a sporting event beyond their control.

Outside of the realm of sports, there is another topic of conversation.  If someone begins to experience a string of bad luck, loses in life or turmoil, God is usually the first to be blamed.  The Old Testament nature of God leads individuals to believe God is punishing them for something done in their past.  Yet, when the tide turns toward blessings, praise and rewards for hard work, there is a tendency for adults to take the credit.  Either forgetting or overshadowing God’s role, glory is often stolen by selfish souls.

Regardless of where you find yourself on this spectrum, the majority will agree that today’s language is merely a byproduct of a fallen generation.  Society has accepted the idea that words need to be spoken, even if people are hurt.  Twitter feeds this notion, giving disgruntled followers a platform to voice their opinion.  Nonetheless, God is more than a curse word or punch line for a comedian.  Rather, Hebrews 4:12-13 reveals that everything will be uncovered, brought to the light, as everyone will have to give an account of what they’ve done and the words they have spoken.

by Jay Mankus

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Depending upon who you listen to or believe, many revisionist historians blame Christianity for the demise of great empires of the past.  Quite contrary, often its the lack of morality, either absent from followers of Jesus or invisible from societies which contribute to the fall of once great nations.  You don’t have to go any further than America’s current view of their justice system.  In the eyes of the media, you are now guilty until proven innocent.

Names like Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy, NFL stars accused of domestic violence, are guinea pigs on this slippery slope.  While the facts may not support their innocence, cable news networks and radio talk shows have already made up their minds.  Who needs a jury anyway?  In the court of public opinion, the decision is clear, guilty as charged!

Psalm 103:6-8 speaks up for any citizen who has been through under the bus.  The Lord hears the cries of the oppressed, bringing justice and working righteousness in the midst of despair.  God’s love is not distant, introduced to Moses and passed on through generations by reminding earth’s residents of His compassion, love and mercy.  Although, the evidence may not look good for anyone accused of a crime, don’t forget that in the America that I remember, you are innocent until proven guilty.

by Jay Mankus

 

There is No One Else to Blame

Sometimes, if you don’t succeed initially, the second time you attempt it is a charm.  Such is the case for Howard Jones, whose rerecording of the song No One is to Blame produced by Phil Collins peaked at #4 of the Billboard Hot 100.  If failure causes you to quit prematurely on any goal or task, there is no one else to blame but yourself.

Despite this reality, people are still following in the footsteps of Adam, looking for someone to be the scapegoat.  “Surely its someone else, not me,” brushing off responsibility by passing the buck to God and his wife, Genesis 3:12.  Subsequently, lame excuses linger, grasping at straws to point the blame in another direction.

In the end, there is no escape clause as the Bible is clear, Romans 1:18-20.  Between sunrise and sunset, God’s invisible qualities are on display.  Thus, the onus is on you, to take ownership of the choices you make.  Therefore, the next time you make a mistake, don’t look around to pass judgment for there is no one else to blame.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: