TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NKJV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• We had a school shooting in our community this week. It was on national news that a student at Mount Tabor High School was shot and killed in Winston-Salem, NC. And while they haven’t released details of the shooter, it’s known that he is a student too.
It’s terribly sad, and I’ve prayed for the family who lost a son as well as the students and staff of the high school. But I’ve also prayed for the shooter’s family. In these kinds of tragedies, there are always assumptions about them. I saw one comment yesterday, “Teach your kids not to shoot other people.” Seriously?! Even in an emotionally neglectful house, do people really think parents raise their kids to be murderers?! It’s a gross assumption, and these families are often left isolated and without support because no matter what kind of parent they were before the tragedy, they are judged by the actions of another.
I think it’s important to remember that our actions are personal and individual. Second Corinthians 5:10 reminds us, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that EACH ONE may receive the things done in the body, according to what HE HAS DONE, whether good or bad” (emphasis mine). The choices a person makes may reflect action or inaction within the home, but at the end of the day, that person is responsible for his or her own choices. See Deuteronomy 24:16 — “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin.”
For example, a child raised in an abusive home doesn’t get a free pass to become abusive himself. It may be what they know, but it doesn’t mean that the cycle has to be perpetuated. It takes courage and character to break those cycles, but it’s possible.
Of course, we also know the other topic that always comes up when a shooting occurs — gun control. Y’all, I’m not going to get into a deep dive on gun control, but as a gun owner myself, I can attest that legal gun owners go through extensive background checks to have permission to buy a gun and the legal right to carry that gun. It’s not about the legally owned guns. And while it seems like a “Captain Obvious” statement to me — criminals don’t care if they get guns by legal means. So restricting legal gun owners won’t solve the problem. We don’t blame forks for America’s weight problem, and the same logic applies — legal gun owners shouldn’t be blamed for those who use guns in an illegal manner.
Again, I’m not trying to be controversial. I know this is a hot topic that brings about strong emotions and opinions. We are a society that likes to point fingers of blame, but in the end, it’s all about personal responsibility. The Bible speaks to this quite a bit. And it goes way beyond the topic of gun control. We are not just held morally responsible for our actions, we are held spiritually responsible for our decisions.
Being raised in a Bible-believing house doesn’t mean everyone in that home is given a one-way ticket to eternal life. Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…” So even in the best, most loving, and encouraging home, we each have our own sin and guilt to deal with. Our parents can’t fix it for us, and we can’t fix it for our children. We have to take personal accountability to confess, repent, and call on the salvation of the Lord. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
It’s so simple. God has made it simple. But we make it hard.
We make it hard because personal accountability means admitting fault and failures. It means acknowledging weakness. It means surrendering our personal illusion of control and admitting that we can’t be perfect. We have to acknowledge that we can’t save ourselves.
It comes down to pride and humility. Pride pushes us to excuses and accusations, and blame. Humility pushes us to Jesus.
Second Corinthians 5:17 and 21 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” When we humbly confess our sins and get beyond the excuses for our actions to admit we need a Savior, Jesus makes us whole and new. God no longer views us as sinful but sees us through the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Personal accountability is not just for a kid in Winston-Salem who made a really bad decision. It’s for every single one of us. We are all sinners who need the grace of God.
Today, as you pray, please pray for the victim’s family and students/staff of Mount Tabor High School. But also pray for the other broken family — and the shooter. Ask the Holy Spirit to move in this hard situation, as well as the hard situations in your world too. Ask Him to use the bad to turn others to Jesus. And praise God that He has made taking personal responsibility as simple as trusting in Jesus… because He paid it all. We don’t have to do it ourselves because Jesus did it for us.
SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the NKJV translation.