Monday, November 1, 2010

Sin: Who is to Blame?

Last time we looked at how and why we are tempted, and who does the tempting. I want to take it a little further this time. Look at James 1:13-15

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam had the audacity to put the blame on God and Eve first. He said in verse 12, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Eve doesn’t go so far as to blame God. Notice she doesn’t say, “The serpent you put here, he deceived me.” But she does blame the serpent for deceiving her and then admits she ate.

So what’s really going on here? Whose fault is it? Looking back at James 1:13 – 15, I think Eve got into trouble when she turned to her “own evil desire”. She got into trouble when she went from listening to God, to listening to the serpent, and from looking at the fruit, to looking at what was in it for Eve. She, “by her own evil desire”, is dragged away and enticed. Essentially, the serpent asked her, “But Eve, what do you want?”

Here is the verse again to refresh your memory. Genesis 3:6:

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Can you see the progression here?
1. Eve “saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye”
2. It was also “desirable for gaining wisdom”
3. She “took some and ate it”
4. She “gave some to her husband”

Sin is progressive. If we feed it, it grows. It starts with the eyes when we TAKE NOTICE. We don’t always have control over what comes into our line of sight, but when we linger on it, it often escalates to desire and we are TAKEN OVER. If we then feed that desire, if we are taken over, we will become increasingly agitated until we TAKE ACTION. Once we take action, we then TAKE OTHERS down with us. Even if we don’t intentionally seek to drag another person into our sin, our sin affects those around us. One of the lies we often tell ourselves about our sin is that it’s not hurting anyone else. But I can think of lots of examples, can you?

Now this situation isn’t unique to Adam and Eve and it isn’t unique to you and me. All of mankind has been enticed by his or her own evil desire. Let’s think through some possible scenarios. I will fill in the TAKE NOTICE. You fill in the rest. There’s no wrong answer here so really think it through and see what you come up with.

TAKE NOTICE = Had a fight with your husband last night and then see that cute guy at work who is always so nice.

TAKE NOTICE = Watch a tv show about super skinny supermodels

If you notice, no sin is happening in the initial phase. There might be something unwise for you personally in the TAKE NOTICE, but nothing inherently evil. We could probably think of lots of other examples. Sin has no prejudice. It can destroy us a million different ways. Next time we’ll look at another of the many examples in the Bible of this progression and how temptation is a struggle for even the most righteous men. But don’t despair, we will get to the, “So what do I do about it” part. Hang in there with me!

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