Own Your Stuff!

  • Steve Hatter
Old broken car next to the same restored car

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”

Gal 6:6–7

There are few things that elicit more sadness in me that watching a person whose sin has brought significant negative consequences upon them—in keeping with the sowing and reaping principle of Galatians 6:7—yet they recklessly blame everyone else, owning none of the responsibility themselves. Such thinking saddens me because the hardness of heart is so evident, and it takes much for such hardness to ever be softened.

An angry and hard heart that finds safety in victimhood makes for a “you can’t get there from here” situation on too many job sites, within too many teams, in too many families, and even in the church. From a cold heart, only the destructive pathways can emerge such as hatred, bitterness, and self-pity. These destructive pathways lead to disastrous trouble in the forms of revenge, murder, or even suicide.

Why won’t people “own their stuff” as my good friend Pastor Randy Karlberg likes to label this phenomenon of looking everywhere but in the mirror? I would point to the creation’s fall in the garden brought on by the original sin of Adam and Eve. In Genesis Chapter Three we see the tragedy of tragedies unfold.

Eve is approached by the crafty serpent who twists the truth in order to entice the woman into disobedience. She takes the fruit of the forbidden tree and eats. She also shares the fruit with Adam. What follows is the template for not owning one’s stuff!

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Adam and Eve covered, and hid, and blame shifted. So, all of us counted as among the human race come by our propensity to cover, and hide, and blame shift honestly. This is because not owning our stuff it is a part of our sin nature inheritance from the First Adam.

However, we are still accountable to God for all we say and do, and we know it! There can be no forgiveness, no reconciliation, no healing, no growth if there is no taking of individual responsibility when we sin against others and God. The path to reconciliation and restoration is brokenness, contrition, and humility.

For unbelievers, brokenness, contrition, and humility before holy God can lead to salvation in Christ. For the believer, brokenness, contrition, and humility break the logjams inhibiting sanctification—our daily growth to become more like Christ.

Another great biblical figure—King David—proved the ultimate value of owning your stuff when he sinned in committing adultery with Bathsheba. We know it took him a while to come around because he aggressively covered, and hid, and blame shifted until God sent the prophet Nathan to him letting him know there was no other way but to come to God in unconditional confession. Psalm 51 is David’s beautiful and restorative confession:

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a righ] spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
    build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Are you covering, hiding, and blame shifting today? If so, repent as David did and find peace with God. Even if your circumstances remain painful as consequences come, you can be restored as David was!