By Kevin Welborn / @theKevinWelborn
Draw a circle on the ground large enough for you to step into. Now step into the aforementioned circle. This is your “circle of power”. You control the goings on inside this rounded realm. No one occupies this real estate but you. Genghis Kahn, Napoleon, and Patton could combine their military minds with the firepower of the Death Star and your personal circle would remain intact.
I can feel the excitement of newly-realized power swelling in your chest. Though your circle is miniscule, it is yours and yours alone. None can penetrate, alter, or conquer it. You’d even like some clown to try it. Bring it, Bozo. Bring it, and all of your friends that are crammed into that Ford Fiesta.
What a ridiculous notion to think that someone like you, a mere blip on the radar of the universe, can brandish such power, even over a small chunk of space.
But, inside of this imaginary circle (unless you actually drew one, which I commend you for taking this so literally) exists a huge amount of responsibility. President Harry Truman had a sign on the desk in the Oval Office that said “the buck stops here.” This short phrase has a simple meaning…that whatever problem is occurring; the blame and the solution will be found here at the top. Truman vowed to take responsibility for mistakes that weren’t even his.
As believers in Christ, we see obvious parallels in Truman’s statement and the actions of Jesus, who took the punishment for our sins at Calvary.
Inside this circle, which you occupy solely, where does the buck stop? Are your mistakes always someone else’s fault? Do you quickly point the finger at others and how they have led you astray?
Maybe you even blame Satan, who by some slick-witted coercion caused you to stumble.
Here is the truth. You are your own worst enemy. Others can hurt and mistreat you. The Devil is a sneaky bloke, but he is constrained to one place at a time. He is not omnipresent.
Think all the way back to Genesis 3. The serpent tricked Adam and Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. Eve tells God in verse 13, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Now, we know that Adam and Eve were punished for their failure to comply with God’s rule of avoiding that particular tree’s fruit. The serpent is also punished.
But, here is the question. For whose sins were each individual being punished? In other words, was Eve punished for the serpent’s deceit? Or the serpent punished for Eve’s (and Adam’s) disobedience?
I understand my personal sin can affect people around me negatively. However, here I am contending the Eve was punished for her sin, Adam for his, and the serpent his. There is a personal responsibility with sin.
That’s why when we say that Jesus died for the sins of the world, we don’t mean His blood gives some sort of blanketed amnesty to everyone who ever lived. We, instead, point to a personal Savior who died for MY personal sin.
That is why your personal circle is so important. The spotless Lamb of God was slain for everyone in it.
Kevin Welborn is the pastor at Highland Baptist Church in Clovis, NM. He is married and has two daughters. He loves his native Texas, sports, and exploring creation. The most famous person he has ever met is someone you have never heard of. You can contact Kevin on Twitter at @theKevinWelborn.