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‘It’s not my fault’

Not Me

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Iowa Statesman.

 

By Jon the Southern Baptist
On the Front Lines of the Culture War

 

Jon The Southern Baptist LogoAshley Madison is not a girl. Well, at least not the one everyone’s talking about lately. And if she was, she wouldn’t be the kind of girl any God-fearing man would want to come within 20 feet of.

Actually, the more I think about it, no one would want to get within 20 feet of her, because they might catch something.

That being said, what we’re really talking about here is adultery. AshleyMadison.com, apparently, is the place to go on the Interwebs to find someone other than your spouse to fool around with. And judging from the information released after the recent hacking incident, it looks like a lot of folks are headed to marriage counseling or divorce court.

A lot of high-profile Christians and family advocates were found among the website’s clientele, as well. So, the first thing we want to do is play the blame game. It’s Ashley Madison’s fault for providing a venue through which to commit adultery. It’s the culture’s fault for promoting such filth in the first place.

It all reminds me of a very interesting blame game played out a few millennia ago. Even though it is the first blame game in recorded history, you don’t have to dig too deep to find it. Just turn to Genesis 3 in your Bible, and there you’ll have it.

God told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruits from the tree of knowledge. The serpent, however, convinced Eve that she should do it anyway, so she did (Genesis 3:1-5). And then she convinced Adam to do it, so he did. And pretty quickly, they realized the error of their ways (Genesis 3:6-7).

So, they hid (Genesis 3:8).

God, being God and all, found them and immediately asked Adam what was going on. Adam fessed up to doing what he was told not to do, but quickly tried to pass the blame to his wife, since she was the one who gave him the fruit to eat (Genesis 3:9-12).

Eve, not to be left hanging, decided she had an “out,” too, and ratted out the serpent (Genesis 3:13). So, God turned His wrath upon the serpent (Genesis 3:14-15) … and then Eve (Genesis 3:16) … and then Adam (Genesis 3:17-19). Then He cast them out of Eden, never to return by any physical means (Genesis 3:22-24).

The lesson: You’re to blame for your own sin. You own it. You’ll pay for it through death. Not just physical death, but eternal, spiritual death whereby you are separated from God and Heaven forever with no means of returning.

Now, if that were the end of the story, two things: first, the Bible would have been much shorter (and a whole lot less interesting), and second, there would be no hope and no use in living out our lives. Thankfully, it’s not the end of the story, but merely the beginning.

We are born of sin, into a world of sin, with the guarantee that the wages of our sin is death. But, we were given a gift — the greatest gift of all — in God’s son, Jesus Christ, who took up the punishment for all of our sin when He was nailed to the cross, died a physical death, and returned as the champion for our eternal salvation.

The best part: all you have to do is accept it.

For those who find themselves in an “Ashley Madison situation,” or wallowing in any other sinful behavior, the first step is to admit you’re sinning and stop it. It’s going to be embarrassing, even hurtful to those around you, but you can’t fix it if you’re not honest about it.

The next step is to accept the blame. It’s your sin. You have to own it. Don’t pass it off to someone else and hold yourself blameless. You were weak, and you succumbed to that weakness, but to move on, you have to admit your weakness.

Third, you have to accept that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, and that he died on that cross to break the bonds of sin in your life. He did this because He doesn’t want any of us to face eternal death — although way too many of us will — and by accepting His gift of salvation, He promises to be your strength in times of weakness.

This doesn’t fix everything. You have to rebuild the trust and relationships you’ve destroyed by your actions, and those will take time, particularly with those who do not understand the truly transformative power accepting Christ can have in one’s life.

Your eternal life is prepared for you, but in your earthly life, you must still bear the weight of your actions, just as Adam and Eve did after they were cast out of the Garden of Eden. But if you have followed the steps above, the world is going to see a different you, and that might just make it a little easier to bear.

As Christians, we must admonish our brothers and sisters who slip off the Lord’s path, but we must do it with love in our hearts — not to condemn, but to get them back on track. We must also “be there” as encouragement for others who have been wallowing in sin — like we used to be — and have since found the Lord’s saving grace.

The world is going to point the finger of condemnation more than enough, because that’s how Satan wages his war against us. It’s a “divide and conquer” tactic whereby he hopes to “prove” our hypocrisy to discourage others from seeking out Jesus.

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Jonathan Montgomery Harrington is the pseudonym for the anonymous author of Jon the Southern Baptist, who is fighting on the front lines of the culture war on a daily basis. If you have a suggestion for his contributions to The Iowa Statesman, write to him at jonsouthernbaptist@outlook.com.