Responding to God
Christopher B. Harbin
''You are not responsible for someone else's decisions.'' I had been counseling one struggling with some serious abuse and contemplating taking her life. What she faced bore down on me, and I struggled under the weight of her decisions. The school counselor knew the situation, and he told me I was not responsible for someone else's decisions. Oppressive weight fell from my shoulders. I cannot assume responsibility for the decisions and choices of another. We can only bear the responsibility for our own actions, choices, and decisions. We cannot bear another's responsibility before God. Each must carry our personal responsibility alone. How do we respond to God individually?
Amos recognized his nation was far from God's purposes. Paul spoke of including gentiles in God's redemptive purposes, as they trusted the word preached to them. Responding to God's call, they joined God's people, even as others rejected God's redemption. God allowed the Jews to participate in or reject God's redemptive purposes, allowing the Gentiles the same privilege. The blessings God offers us are not dependent upon what others do, but on how we respond to God's actions and purposes.
Herod had heard of Jesus. Herod had heard of John the Baptist. He knew the message John had preached and saw the connection between John and Jesus. He had heard so much of it before. He had even used John the Baptist as a communication tool with God! He kept him at a comfortable distance, on a leash, as it were, uncertain what he would or should do with him.
It seems a little odd, but as John the Baptist had been preaching, he made reference to Herod's adultery. Herod had taken his brother's wife from him. When John called Herod out, he found himself imprisoned. Herod could not have John running about the countryside proclaiming that Herod was out of line with God's purposes. He placed him in prison to squelch his critique. Then when it was conv ...
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