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That's Not How this Works!

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Galatians 6:7

I remember the first time I met Jackson. Jackson and about twenty other young adults had recently come from Rwanda and Uganda, East Africa to attend La Roche College near where we lived. On this Sunday morning, he and his friends walked over two miles from their dorms on campus to our church to attend service. Because of the logistical challenges of being in a new country, these students didn’t drive and didn’t have access to transportation.

My mom was working as a secretary at the church at that time and became very close with this group of students. So, she enlisted my dad to drive this group to church every Sunday so they wouldn’t have to walk. Dad really enjoyed this group and grew close to several of the guys who looked to him as they would a father.

One afternoon on the drive back to the college after church, my dad reminded the group that the next week was daylight savings time. This was a new concept for these young men and women so Dad explained how they will need to move their clocks ahead one hour. If they didn’t change their clocks, he warned, they would be late and would miss their ride to church.

After a few minutes of muffled silence, Jackson—the self-appointed leader of the group and Dad’s co-pilot for the van rides—declared boldly that the group discussed it and they were not going to do daylight savings time. The idea of changing the time didn’t make any sense to them and they planned to keep the same schedule they were currently following.

Well, that didn’t go over too well with Dad. My father—in his own inimitable way—told Jackson in no uncertain terms, “THAT’S NOT HOW THIS WORKS. You will move your clocks ahead one hour, and you will be ready an hour earlier next week when I come to get you.”

And they did.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that believes the rules change based on popular opinion. Instead of embracing truth, many have chosen to tell their own story about the facts, regardless of their factual and historical accuracy. We need only to turn on the evening news to see competing opinions describing the same scene. In the last few decades, the idea of narratives has replaced objective truth.

Can the truth change simply because we would like it to change? No, it doesn’t work that way.

If the rules haven't changed, why are many in our society convinced that they have? Something has changed, but it’s hard to nail down exactly what. My observation is that this culture has done a stellar job of separating choices from consequences. We believe that everyone gets to choose their own truth. Not only can we make our own decisions about right and wrong, but we also get to choose the benefits/consequences of our actions. But is that really the case? It’s my personal conviction that it is intellectually dishonest to believe that everyone can be right at the same time.

Something else is at play here, as well. If I deliberately ignore the connection between my actions and the consequences, I am no longer responsible and I am now the victim. I can’t be held accountable for my actions. As the victim, someone else is responsible to fix it—my parents, my spouse, the school system, or the government.

In the story at the beginning of this chapter, Jackson and his friends didn’t get to decide what time zone they lived in. They didn’t have the authority. They could have chosen to ignore my dad and not move their clocks ahead an hour, but they would have suffered consequences. They would have been late all the time.

The entire Biblical worldview can be summed up in this way: His game; His rules. We didn’t make the rules and we don’t get to change them. That’s how this works.

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