How often have you heard, “The Devil made me do it.”
Usually with tongue in cheek but instead it really should have been firmly held between our teeth whenever we feel like saying the old quip; the supernatural should probably be better left alone. No this post isn’t about demons, evil spirits or the Devil; it is about you, and me and ‘Free Will’.
We often do or say things that we would like to blame on all of the above; yet this is really a dark truth about human nature. After World War II many perpetrators of Nazi atrocities claimed they were only obeying ‘orders’ and by implication it was not they who were to blame for crimes against humanity. Really? Let us think carefully about this and not be so hasty shifting blame on others for the mistakes, selfish acts, crimes or cruelty we find ourselves involved with. Sure most of us can claim, “I am not THAT, bad.” Let us think about this statement more carefully.
If we are so innocent and intrinsically ‘good how is it many of us allow ourselves to comply with situations and things we know clearly is wrong? Cheat on taxes, pilfer, violate driving laws, cheat in games, cheat on our mate . . . etc. Worse? We many even find ourselves doing these things without help from anyone else. If we do not capitulate completely we may regret, agonized and repent afterwards but, in the end we must take responsibility for our actions.
Who knows what evil lurks in our hearts and minds, acted on or not?
Once upon a time my view on dabbling, with the occult, the seedy side of life or, even taking excursions to the realm of what was culturally taboo; this was, “No big deal.” Of course I was just curious, playful or just feeling recalcitrant. Little did I realize how wrong I really was. So now with many years of life’s experience to consider and reflect on, I have a much different point of view. I firmly believe we are always in the process of transitioning to the kind of person we will ultimately become. Yes, from birth until death the process continues: It all adds up. The familiar computer programmer’s phrase saying that is probably trite these days, “Garbage in; Garbage out,” is much more real for me than I would ever have thought. And, sciences of the brain and mind appear to be confirming this through studies and experimentation even as I type this article. In our country I think we, as a people, have allowed our new pluralistic and relativistic beliefs to drift toward the extreme because of the freedoms we enjoy. In my opinion we have pushed our culture ever closer to the abyss by watering down the standards by which we have successfully lived since the beginning of our nation.
￼I believe our very foundations of morality and a clear understanding of right and wrong has been severely weakened.
An athlete acquires skills, mental ability and physical stamina by repeatedly practicing and striving for what is best. The scientist seeks more knowledge and evidence to advance her field. So what are we to think when each new generation waters down even more, the social standard for morality, civility and the respect for law and order that made our Nation great?
You do not have to be a religious Jew or Christian to see what had happened to the ancient Hebrews every time their civilization’s standard was weakened by disregard for The Law and disrespect for GOD. It was a series of disasters.
We did not use the phrase “One Nation Under GOD” because we were superstitious. Our forefathers had a deep respect for GOD and GOD’s standards for our people.
In spite of some portrayals of the establishment and history of The United States of America depicting flaws and mistakes, we were a Nation under God. I fear what will happen to us when we fully become a Nation under many gods or no God at all.
As a Christian I believe The Holy Bible has the teaching we need. We can reverse the trend toward unrealistic freedom and again we can become the moral standard for a dangerous world. Satan and his cohorts influence and tempt but we make the choices in the end.
Excerpts as examples from the ESV* Bible:
Matthew 15:19 ESV
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.
Jeremiah 17:9 ESV
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Genesis 6:11-12 ESV
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw ￼the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
4. James 4:7 ESV
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
5. Genesis 3:13 ESV
Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”