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April 23, 2020 Barnabas Did It! - Eric Anderson

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” Psalm 32:5 “Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ He said, ‘I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?’” Genesis 4:8-9

Reflection As a very young boy of around 5 or 6 years old, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents in the summer. They used to let me watch all kinds of TV shows with them, including a scary soap opera called Dark Shadows. One of the main characters was a man named "Barnabas" who also happened to be a vampire. At this tender age, the character in the show became not only a sort of boogeyman to me, but also a valuable scapegoat. Being six years old, I would constantly get into trouble doing things like breaking corners off of concrete steps with hammers, chopping down young saplings with a hatchet, and even breaking a storm door glass window with a hammer trying to kill a bee that dared to land on my sandwich while I was eating on the porch. However, every time I was angrily asked "Who did this?" I replied, "It wasn't me, Barnabas did it.” Again, that fictional boogeyman of my childhood was also my go-to scapegoat. Obviously, my grandparents knew what I had done, but they gave me the opportunity to fess up and I didn't. I always blamed someone else for my misdeeds. As a result, many times the punishment I received was worse than if I had just told the truth. They knew what the truth was but needed to hear me say it so that they knew I was truly sorry, and therefore build an even stronger relationship with me. Isn't this relationship the same one that we have with our father, God? Many times in my life I have made mistakes and when I brought them to God in prayer I would rationalize my behavior by blaming others. When we make a mistake and do something that we know is not pleasing to Him, do we act like He doesn't really know who's responsible and try to put the blame on someone else? Do we say things like, "If that person wouldn't have cut me off, then I wouldn't have made that inappropriate gesture", or "If my spouse trusted me more, I wouldn't have felt the need to lie to them”? Or how about this for all the youth...."If they didn't want me to trash them on social media, then they shouldn't have done what they did!" We need to take ownership of our failings and confess them to God, because He already knows who did it! Trying to hide the truth from Him is not only futile, but it also drives a wedge between Him and us. And the best thing? We know He will forgive us if we just ask and be honest with Him. Is there any sin in your life that you find yourself justifying, rather than taking it to God and asking forgiveness?

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