[CF Devotionals] 2010-01-19 - Bad Guys of the Bible

Introduction

With this devotional, we will begin a new series on characters in the Bible who have sometimes been considered “bad guys” (by varying pastors/teachers and others) through the years. Of course, their stories are in the Bible for a reason. We’ll look at some things we can learn from the likes of Cain, Saul , Judah and Thomas – and sometimes we’ll see the sides of them that aren’t often mentioned.If you have any “bad guys” that you’d like for us to explore, please let me know. I love to get your feedback and input, “good, bad or ugly!” ; ) As much as is possible, we’ll work in chronological order. So of course, we’ll start with Adam and Eve.

Some Christians blame Adam for introducing sin into the world; others blame Eve. Truth be known, they both bear responsibility in the matter. During the last eight years, I have had the privilege of assisting crime victims in the Criminal Justice System. If only I had a dollar for every time a defendant blamed someone else for his/her own crime! It’s always “someone else’s fault,” “someone else’s marijuana,” “someone else’s idea” etc. I have even heard too many parents say – of their adult children – that it’s someone else’s fault. When one such mother said that her son’s five separate convictions (five separate cases through the years) were “all someone else’s fault,” one discerning judge silenced her with, “ma’am, you are part of the problem.” She honestly was blind to how sad or ridiculous it was to blame "someone else" for five separate incidents, nor could she see that she wasn't helping her son by "bailing him out" over and over and not allowing him to become a mature adult who would accept responsibility and be able to live a healthy adult life. She was actually doing him a disservice, not preparing him for the real world.

Well as Genesis 3 tells us, it all started with Adam and Eve. The serpent (who was not a snake, by the way – that’s a bad translation) provided the temptation, and Eve blamed him. Then Adam, in turn, blamed Eve. But both Adam and Eve could have simply said no. A lot of comedians made good money by mocking Nancy Reagan’s “just say no” campaign back in the 1980s, but it was very Biblically sound. There’s just no getting around it; no one forced either Adam or Eve to succumb to temptation. It was their choice, just as it is ours.

So – what can we can learn from them? Even if there is a genetic disposition toward a habit, or even if there are people around us who are sinning, in the end, we make a choice. And we can choose to say no to sin. We don’t have to take the first drink, smoke the first cigarette, say what we are thinking (a hateful remark, a curse word, a lie), break the traffic laws, buy a research paper instead of writing our own - or whatever. Every day, we make our own choices – and when we face our Lord, the Ultimate Judge, we won’t be able to claim it’s someone else’s fault. He knows better (just as most criminal judges do). He will hold US responsible for our actions. So when you think about our foreparents Adam and Eve, remember that as President Harry Truman liked to say in the 1950s (and Presidents Bush and Obama have also quoted), when it comes to sin,“the buck stops here.”

Next week, we’ll visit Cain.

Jan

[email jan]  cfdevpray@juno.com
http://www.cfdevotionals.org