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I’m the Exception

September 8, 2020
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No. You’re not. Really. You’re WAY not the exception. Not even AN exception.

I know I’m an old guy, and as an old guy, I tend to talk about things in a somewhat rigid way. But I’m just telling you the truth.

I also know that you’ve had everybody from TV Preachers to Kindergarten Teachers tell you that you can be anything you want to be. President, Pro Athlete, Movie Star, Rock Star, whatever you want. Positive Mental Attitude people have been saying some form of , “Whatever you can dream, you can make happen,” for more than 50 years. I know that lots of the movies you watch are about men and women, boys and girls becoming what everybody told them they couldn’t be. I get all that.

I know that professional athletes (and sometimes college athletes) seem to get away with stuff that, if anybody else did them, would land in jail. I know that the same thing has happened with politicians and media personalities and movie stars. I know that there are lots of voices making lots of noise to lead you to believe that you’re the exception.

But there’s this other thing called R E A L I T Y that will always be getting in the way of you being an exception. The biggest part of this R E A L I T Y is that we live in a cause-and-effect world. Action/reaction is the basic formula for everything in life.

Twenty centuries ago, the Bible laid out the formula in agricultural language. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7 NIV)

Most of the time when I read or hear a teaching on this, they skip right to the “A man reaps what he sows” part. But that’s not the entire formula. It starts with, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.”

I want to camp out a little on that idea.

First of all, “Do not be deceived.” Again, I know I’m an old guy, so I’m doing my best to filter that out and be objective. But even with that filter on, it seems to me that we live in a world that’s full of deception. Some of it is just entertainment. But some of it is very harmful. I sometimes wish I could throw Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth around politicians, advertisers and news casters to get the actual truth out of them. I have my mental list of these people, and you probably have yours. But alas, neither Wonder Woman nor the Lasso of Truth exist. So that’s not going to happen. Bummer.

But if it did, I wonder how much activity there would be on social media, and how many of the 24 hours of the day and night could be filled by the news media? My sense is that it would be “not much.” There would be a lot more posts of pets and grand kids, and the news cycle would be shortened a good bit.

You pick the news outlet. I’m not talking about just one side of the political line, either. I’m talking about all of it.

I have no doubt that some on both sides know that they’re being deceitful, and they’re leveraging an agenda. But not all. I think there are sincere folks in all these places on both sides of any line you want to draw who really believe they’re presenting the truth.

Short of a Lasso of Truth, how will you and I know what’s real and true, and what’s not? I don’t have a great answer for this question.

What I do know, though, is that although I can be deceived, and you can be deceived, God cannot be mocked. That’s the second part of this first half of the formula.

Now, I know you don’t intend to mock God. Neither do I. I’ll let you believe what you want to about whether or not there are people in the world who do intend to mock Him. If you’re unconvinced, you may want to watch TV with a critical eye…

But even for them, the bottom line is that they can try to mock Him, they may even think they’ve successfully done it and gotten away with it, and have a lucrative following as a result. But Paul didn’t say, “Most of the time God can’t be mocked.” He didn’t even say, “Mocking God isn’t a good idea.” He made the bold and unequivocal statement that God CANNOT be mocked. As in, “It’s not possible to mock God.”

I suppose if you wanted to, you could mock Einstein’s intelligence and genius, but in light of reality and the truth, even accounting for relativity, you’d only end up mocking yourself. Put that on steroids, and you’ve got what trying to mock God is like.

And here’s why:

“A man (person) reaps what he (they) sow.”

Well, of course. It stands to reason. If you plant okra, you’ll get okra, not squash. You’ll always harvest what you plant. This isn’t a principle that usually works. It always does. There are no exceptions. Okra seeds will always produce okra plants. I suppose it’s possible that squash seeds may have been packaged as okra seeds, and so you may have thought you were planting okra seeds when you were, in fact planting squash. (If this ever happens to you, let me know. I’ve never heard of it. And if you’re an actual gardener, you already know that okra seeds and squash seeds are very different in size and appearance.) But squash seeds will always produce squash, even if they’re mislabeled and misidentified. Without exception. It’s a law, not a suggestion. You will always harvest what you plant.

You’re connecting the dots between you and me being exceptions and Galatians 6:7, right? There are universal laws you can’t suspend which rule out being an exception. Paul’s Law of the Harvest is one of those.

Sometimes we act like we’re not under these universal laws, though. Even those of us who know better. We live as though we were entitled to be treated as exceptions. After all, doesn’t every rule have it’s exception? Well, no, not this one.

“Entitled” is the operative word in that last paragraph. It’s also a hallmark – maybe THE hallmark – of our current culture. I could go a long way with this, but I won’t. You’re welcome.

I’ll just ask you to reflect on your own life and see if there are ways you act like you’re the exception. Are there any ways you act as though you’re entitled? I’m not judging you. I’m right there in the same boat with you. My answer to both of these questions is, “Yes, I’m afraid so.”

So here’s my suggestion. Since both you and I have to admit that there are times when we act as though we were entitled to be the exception, how about we ask God for grace to both see this in ourselves, and to empower us to come back to the reality that we’re not entitled and not exceptions? When grace does this, it shows up as humility, a seed, which when planted, produces incredible harvests of fabulous things in a person’s life. Fabulous things that make a person seem truly exceptional.

And by the way, MOM and/or DAD, one of the most important things you will ever teach your kids is how to balance the fact that they can live exceptionally in a world of confused values while knowing they’re not the exception. Guess what the most valuable technique for this is? Your example. There’s a lot at stake! In partnership with Christ and His Spirit, you can make it work. Live authentically. Trust God’s grace to give you all you need. Live confidently. But don’t fall for the lie that you’re the exception…

From → Marriage

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