Rediscovering Redemption

Chronicling the work of Redemption in the lives of Followers and Leaders. Articles, research and meditations from the writings of Dr. Joseph J. Bucci. Get blog updates by following Joe on Twitter @Re_Redemption

Joseph J. Bucci

Well Prepared

There have been so few of them that I could probably count them on one hand. What are they? Not bowling a perfect 300 game. I only have a few games where I could even reach two hundred or more. What I talking about are the times when I have been accused of doing something, and when I was actually innocent. I have a history of actually doing most of the things of which I am accused.

I used to have a very horrible habit. It used to be that if I was told a secret then I would tell someone. There were very few times that I could keep things to myself. Sometimes it was a thought or confidence revealed because I perceived that it would be funny or cute or gross, and that seemed funny to me. Mainly it was inappropriate, and it cost me. I might get a frown from my wife or a colleague or a friend; or I might get much worse – anger, rage, bitterness. But I was addicted to my own pride. I knew a secret, and I often chose not keep it. My kids grew up knowing this person, and sometimes it was funny but usually it was awkward or disappointing. I would ruin a surprise, theirs or my own.

So people stopped telling me things, or they warned me that this was something that I needed to keep quiet. At first it seemed like a joke to me, but then it started to feel uncomfortable. “You don’t need to tell me that, because I know,” I would say. But I would hear back, “No you do not.” This reputation followed me like a bad case of sunburn – it really started to hurt. I also kept seeing this crop up at my job, or in other venues. It was getting to be a major problem for me.

So I started to try and change. Keeping quiet might be easy with some details, but the most difficult hurdle was the discerning of what could be repeated, and to whom. It took a long time, but there were some really neat reinforcement events. I did not give away the planning and surprise for my wife’s 40th birthday. She could not believe it. I started to earn trust by being faithful in being quiet about confidential details. I was not yet perfect, and I am not yet fully able to avoid a slip. But I have learned to enjoy keeping a confidence, and being able to really pull it off.

Yet the fact that I have a history of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time or revealing a confidence will revisit me from time to time. I might be accused of saying something confidential to the wrong person, and what I said may actually have been misconstrued. But then I will accuse myself, and the old voice in my head repeats the accusation: “You cannot be trusted. You did it. You did not stay quiet. It’s your fault.” I had a wonderful boss years ago who would calm my emotional reactions to things by asking me about the facts. What are the facts? This concept really helped me in two areas – one was in reviewing the details of an accusation, whether from someone else or from myself. What actually are the facts? Did I actually do this with intent? What is the true story here? The other lesson from examining the facts has helped me when discipling a new believer: what actually happened when you confessed Christ as Savior? In the spiritual realm, let’s review the facts (the Bible is our fact-checker). This helps sort out the emotion of an altar call and leads to a reliance on the truth of God’s word in what He is doing in the believer’s life.

In Revelation 12:10 Satan is referred to as “the accuser of the brethren.” We often hear preachers describing the courtroom of Heaven, with God the Father as Judge (Revelation 20:11), and Satan as prosecuting attorney, leveling us with accusations which are true. Jesus stands in as our Defender, and actually as our Substitute – He pays the price for all of the truthful accusations leveled against us. Then the Father declares us “not guilty” – the price for our penalty has been paid!

There is more to this story theologically (Jesus is given the authority by God to judge – John 5:22; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1;). But the point is this: Satan is a practiced accuser. Sometimes the accusations ring true – yes, we did it! We are sinners, and we are guilty. Sometimes an accusation is wrong – we are accused, but we are innocent! Yet I do not think we can rejoice in our right-ness. We are still sinners, and we still may be somewhat culpable. But righteousness is in our future – it is our destiny as believers!

I might never believe that I did everything right. But Christ has died to cover for my sin, whether by omission or by commission. Whether I am perceived to be innocent or completely guilty, He substituted His life for me. Our brother Peter, racked with guilt for actually denying Christ, wrote that, “Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). However goes my errors and subsequent accusations; whether innocent or guilty – I am free from death if I confess my sin (1 John 1:9). I will continue to learn to keep things quiet. But I will also be well prepared for the “accuser of the brethren.”

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Joseph J. Bucci

Biography link below: https://www.regent.edu/faculty/d-b-a-joseph-j-bucci/
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