The Devil Made Me Do It

The Need to Place Blame

We live in a culture that enjoys placing blame. If there is unpleasant news or a tragedy, we feel the need to place the blame somewhere. People blame leaders, and even (incorrectly) God Himself. In the political sphere, when something goes wrong, there is always someone who must “take a fall” – even if that person had no control over the situation. There is a strong desire to place blame somewhere, even when no blame is due.

Not a New Idea

This idea is nothing really new. We have developed this need to place blame, because we do the very same thing in our own lives when there is someone to blame. Commonly, when the consequences of sinful choices rear their ugly head, the person we should blame is ourselves, and we are the last we want to blame. One might describe this philosophy as “the devil made me do it” philosophy. However, this “blame-game” does not hold water before our God.

A great example of the “blame-game” is found after the Fall of Man in Genesis Chapter 3. When confronted with the obvious result of breaking the command of God, both Adam and Eve offer lame attempts to divert blame away from where it was deserved.

Confronting Adam

The first to be confronted by God is Adam, which is important because it was he who was responsible for the well-being of this first family. He was responsible for teaching the law God had commanded him, as was he responsible for the spiritual well-being of his wife (cf. Eph. 5:22ff; 1 Cor. 11:3ff). Instead of taking this responsibility, Adam chose to instead blame his wife for his failure: “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave to me from the tree, and I ate” (Gen. 3:12, NASU, emph. added). While this may be the first example of the “battle of the sexes”, what Adam instead is actually doing is blaming God for giving him the woman in the first place.

Confronting Eve

The second to be confronted by God is Eve, who instead of blaming herself takes aim at a seemingly easy target: the Serpent: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Gen. 3:13). While the serpent is somewhat responsible in the scenario (he is cursed by God), was the serpent the one ultimately responsible for Eve’s sin? Certainly not. Satan, however powerful, never has been allowed the ability to force behavior. He could no more force Eve to sin than he could force Job to sin in the midst of his pain and anguish (cf. Job 1:12; 2:6).

We Only Have Ourselves to Blame

The truth is that when we fail, we have no one else to blame but ourselves. The devil seems an easy target because he and his demons are in the temptation game. However, one truth has not changed, from the very first sin of man: “The soul who sins will die” (Eze. 18:4). The first step in confronting sin is remembering who is to blame for sin. Who is responsible in your life?

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