I enjoy English dramas, mostly English period dramas, like Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," because they have a great storyline without all the language and graphic sex that is in many of today's movies.
That is one reason I was drawn into Downton Abbey. But in season three, writers have returned to a theme that they very briefly visited in the first season, which is that of a male servant's homosexuality.
I believe Lord Grantham's justification of this servant's behavior to someone else by saying "he can't help how he is" is ridiculous.
That sounds a bit more like our modern world's thought; not just toward homosexuality, but toward sin, in general.
How many times have I tried to justify myself, my "lack" in some area of my life, some besetting sin that I can't get rid of, some habit—whatever the struggle may be—by saying that I am that way because of how I was raised by my parents, or because of what I've been through, etc., etc.
All of it.
The Bible tells me something completely different:
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come," (2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB).
The world preaches, at the behest of our enemy, that we cannot be different so we must learn to accept who we are and embrace ourselves as good—right in the midst of our sinful ways. That is a pit that the devil wants us all to fall into, one that is easy to become trapped in, if we are not diligent to repent and confess sin.
Yesterday, a dear woman in our congregation read a word that the Lord gave to her. She said the Lord wants us to examine our hearts to see if we are merely sorry—making excuses for our sin—as a child caught in a cookie jar is sorry for being caught; or are we truly repentant that we've sinned against our God.
"For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death," (2 Corinthians 7:10 NASB).
When we make excuses, we restrain the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Is it any wonder why we don't feel on fire, why we've lost our first love, why we are so overwhelmed with the enormity of our daily tasks but don't give a thought for the myriad of lost souls who still need Jesus?
"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness," (2 Peter 1:3 NIV).
We have an amazing, awesome, powerful God who loves us completely and has an incredible plan for our lives. He has given us power to do everything that He calls us to do, which will all be for His glory.
If you are tired of doing the same things over and over again and not seeing results, ask the Lord to examine your heart and show you if you are making excuses. We all do it. Be open to what He wants to do, and He will surprise you with joy and strength to go forward in His power.