As adults, we may at times justify poor decisions by blaming others or minimize sinful activity as simply a mistake.
John Edwards, a 2004 and 2008 presidential candidate, was an example of minimizing sin as a mistake. Following his 2008 campaign, Edwards was indicted by a grand jury on six felony charges of violating campaign contribution laws covering up an extramarital affair.
During an interview, Edwards stated..."I made a serious mistake, a mistake that I am responsible for and no one else. I told Elizabeth (his wife) about the mistake (extramarital affair), asked her for forgiveness and asked God for His forgiveness."
This is an example of our human nature to minimize sin as simply a mistake. John Edwards did not make a mistake; he sinned.
In Jonah 1, God instructed Jonah to go to a certain place and preach. Jonah disagreed with God and boarded a ship going in the opposite direction from where God told him to go. When the ship was at sea, God sent a violent storm threatening to sink the ship.
The sailors asked Jonah, "Who is responsible for making all this trouble?" Jonah told the sailors, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea; it is my fault this great storm has come upon you."
Jonah's actions in this situation are an example of taking personal responsibility during a difficult and threatening situation. We may remember Jonah as it relates to a big fish but we should learn from Jonah in this situation to be responsible for our actions.
In Genesis 3, the serpent said to Eve, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" Eve responded, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'"
The serpent said to Eve, "You will not die, God knows when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
As God walked in the garden one day, He called to Adam and Eve, "Where are you?" Adam answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid."
God said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree I commanded you not to eat from?"
Adam said, "The woman you put here with me--she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it."
Our sinful nature of transferring blame to others originated with Adam in the Garden of Eden.
Events you and I encounter every day may not contain the drama and importance of walking in a garden with God or being onboard a ship during a storm on the high seas but the manner in which we respond to and take ownership of challenging situations can expose the content of our character.
Scripture gives us a path for building the content of our character and growing our faith in Jesus Christ.
James 1 tells us we will face trials, challenges, trouble and temptation in every shape and size imageable. Small personal challenges we encounter are usually training grounds preparing us to combat a more intriguing temptation than the previous temptation.
James 1: 2-3 says it this way, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."
This is an encouragement to respond to personal challenges with Jesus Christ as our reference point while we prepare for the next trial headed for us just around the corner.
Dennis R. Hixson of Fayetteville is a husband, father, teacher, business leader, author and mentor. Currently Dennis teaches an adult Bible class at Prairie Grove Christian Church and Practical Biblical Application class at the Fayetteville Salvation Army, Drug and Alcohol Recovery Program. Send comments and questions to: [email protected]