As I was running on the treadmill this morning, I saw a news story on one of the televisions entitled, “Mom Walks Out on Signing.” It caught my attention, so I watched it for a few minutes.
Jacob Copeland is a four-star wide receiver from Pensacola, FL, and he was recently faced with the difficult choice between Florida, Tennessee, and Alabama on National Signing Day. When he revealed his commitment to the Gators by putting on the Florida hat, his mother – who had previously hugged him and was sitting beside him at the table – grabbed her purse, got up from the table, and walked away.
On national television.
This important choice would determine Jacob’s future, both academically and athletically, and he had publicly stated that he did not take it lightly.
Evidently, neither did his mother.
Clearly, Jacob’s mother preferred Tennessee or Alabama (she was wearing an Alabama sweatshirt and a Tennessee hat), but what kind of a mother would walk out on her son during a time like this? Why wasn’t she more supportive? Doesn’t she love her son? Is she a bad mother?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, and Jacob himself seems to have taken it in stride, calling it “hilarious” in a recent tweet; but what can we, as Christians, learn from this?
We often paint a picture of God that doesn’t line up with Scripture when it comes to our decisions. We sometimes pretend that we can make deliberate, premeditated, sinful choices in our lives, and that God will continue to “sit at the table” with us. That He will somehow continue to be “supportive,” even though we have essentially turned our backs on Him.
Let me be clear about a few things:
1. I am aware that God is always WAITING and WANTING us to repent and come back to Him if we are in sin (Luke 15:11-32). I would never try to negate His unending love and capacity to forgive those who turn to Him. We can repent and run into His loving arms any time we choose (Js. 4:8)
2. I am also not talking about unintentional, occasional, or uncharacteristic sins that otherwise faithful Christians might commit/omit. As we are told in I John 1:8, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us,” and “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (I John 1:10). In other words, we will ALWAYS struggle with sin on some level, even if we are “walking in the light” (I John 1:7).
What I AM talking about is when we deliberately choose a LIFESTYLE of sin in some area of our lives and we expect God to be “ok” with it. We choose sin – any sin – and expect Him to continue to listen to our prayers, accept our worship, and bless our lives.
It doesn’t work like that.
According to Scripture, “No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him…Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil…No one born of God makes a practice of sinning” (I John 3:6,8,9).
As the prophet Isaiah said, “…your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear” (Is. 59:1-2).
James put it this way: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
In other words, if we knowingly and deliberately choose sin, God must get up and “leave the table.” We should expect nothing less from a righteous, holy, and just God.
In other words…
If we “put on the hat” of gossip, God must leave the table.
If we “put on the hat” of prejudice, God must leave the table.
If we “put on the hat” of sexual immorality, God must leave the table.
If we “put on the hat” of idolatry, God must leave the table.
So, let’s pretend that today is “National Signing Day” for us, as Christians. Whose “hat” are we going to put on? If we want God to stay at the table with us, we might want to give it some serious thought.
Because we have a “Father Who Walks Out on Sinning.”