LOOKING UP: Who’s to blame?
Monday, 21 January 2013 by Joe Baisden
It is amazing how ancient Scripture speaks to today's world. In the Garden of Eden itself we see the roots of our current habit of passing the buck.
Chapter 3 of Genesis finds Adam and Eve well fixed. They have everything they need for a happy life. They have each other, a wonderful environment, plenty to eat, and plenty to do. They were placed in the Garden "to work it and take care of it" (Gen. 2:15).
They were given specific instructions on how to maintain their lovely life. They were to do so by obeying God's command not to eat of the forbidden fruit. They were given a clear warning as to what would happen to them should they violate the instruction.
Eve listened to the reasoning of the evil one, who made God's prohibition sound as if He were cheated them out of something worthwhile and good. She ate of the fruit, and so did Adam.
When God came in the cool of the day to check on them, they hid in shame. When God specifically asked Adam if he had eaten fruit from the forbidden tree, the first words out of his mouth were: "The woman You put here with me—she gave me some fruit, from the tree, and I ate it."
Adam passed the buck two ways. First, he blamed the woman, but he also blamed God. It is all Your fault, God, because You are the one who gave me the woman who gave me the fruit.
Eve blamed the serpent. "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
Who was really to blame? Did anyone actually make them choose the wrong course of action? Adam and Eve had the power to make a right decision, and that is true of us today.
There are things that happen to us over which we have no control. Bad things do happen from time to time to people who are trying their dead-level best to do right. Let us be honest, however, and admit that most of the consequences we suffer in life come from choices for which we ourselves, neither God nor someone else, are responsible. The Bible says: "Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed" (James 1:14).
Years ago, my dad and I visited one of his co-workers in the hospital. The patient and his wife were feeling sorry for themselves because the man had run out of sick leave. As Dad and I left, I expressed my own sorrow for the man. Dad, who was not without compassion but who also maintained some objectivity, explained, "Son, he would have plenty of sick leave had he not used it for frequent fishing trips."
Neither telemarketer nor salesperson can make us spend ourselves into hopeless debt. No one can make us log on to internet pornography or commit an immoral act that can wreck our relationships with family and others. No one can make us embrace bitterness, hatred, pride, and prejudice. The bottom line is this: The choice is ours, and we must bear the consequences of our folly.
Let us thank God that His Word is available to prevent our being deceived and His Spirit available to help us resist giving in to pressure. It is wonderful that His grace is plenteous to provide forgiveness. Although we can be forgiven, the consequences of our decisions may continue to complicate our lives and the lives of others affected by our choices.
"God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out." – 1 Cor. 10:13