In seminary we were assigned a book called Generation to Generation. The gist of the book is that you are significantly confined/bound in your behaviors and inclinations by your genetic and environmental past. While I agreed with the idea that our upbringing and genetic makeup has something to do with our choices and inclinations, I never bought the idea that these things are solid bindings to those of us who claim Jesus. I remember a certain tax collector (Zaccheaus, Luke 19) who had an inclination and lots of training in being a thieving weasel. After meeting Jesus the man said he would return fourfold what he had taken and would give half of his stuff to the poor. Jesus commented that "salvation has come to this house." Zaccheaus chose, because of the presence and word of Jesus, to rise above his past and training.
I bring this up because I am tired of people who call themselves born-again Christians and a "nation under God" confusing the words, "excuses" and "expectations." I will talk at length about this Wednesday night but I wonder ... why do we send people back to excuses, their past and their "environment" as permission for bad behavior? On the TV show Law and Order the Prosecutor (Jack McCoy) commonly asks defendants (under oath) if their bad childhood, bad upbringing, bad neighborhood and bad luck in life gives them carte blanche to harm or take from others. He asks, "Do all people who have these things happen kill other people?" If we, societally, buy this lie we do not live in a nation of laws ... we live in a nation of chaos.
God gives us positive expectations of His plans (Jeremiah 29:11) that will prosper us, His new creation in us (2 Corinthans 5:17) and His "new thing" He is doing in us (Isaiah 43:19). These, and a myriad of other passages, describe a God who changes things and people. So ... let's expect God to move us forward from being victims of circumstances to victors who learn, grow, love and live in that new place God gives us every day. Let's stop buying the excuses of the world Jesus said He has overcome. Randy