Wednesday, September 18, 2013

God Made Me This Way

“This is the way God made me.” I have heard this statement made many times in order to justify rude and, even sometimes, sinful behavior. The thought line is that God is the one who designed me therefore I cannot help but be the way I am. Therefore, the offender absolves themselves of any and all responsibility and the fault of the behavior is placed solely on the shoulders of God. It is a ridiculous and completely unscriptural point of view, but one that a society which refuses to take personal responsibility eagerly embraces. While there are many examples I can use from the Bible to extinguish this nonsense, one particular account comes to mind; the woman caught in adultery found in John chapter 8.

Those who opposed Christ brought to Him a woman who was caught in the act of committing adultery – a crime punishable by death under Jewish Law. Of course these men were not so much concerned about the sin as they were trying to trip Jesus up in His teachings. (It requires at least two people to commit adultery and it doesn’t take a detective to notice the absence of the other party member to this sin.) As they throw this poor woman before Jesus they pose a question to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” (John 8:4-5) Knowing their hearts, the Lord is quite annoyed with them and says nothing. As they continue to press Him for an answer He looks them square in the eyes and says, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (Verse 7) Of course, that ends the whole thing and these “very intelligent” men walk off having been put to shame.

Now here is the part I want to focus on. The woman is still there! So Jesus initiates a little conversation with her and asks if anyone still remains to carry out her sentence and condemn her. She says, I suspect rather surprised and frightened, “No one, Lord.” The Lord then responds, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (Verse 11) Did you catch that? Jesus said so much in that small sentence.

First, He told her that she was receiving forgiveness and mercy that day instead of condemnation. Why did she need that? Because she was guilty! She was not innocent of the crime and it was not okay with God that she committed it. Mercy is given to those who are guilty. She was receiving a pardon for her crime. Nowhere does Jesus attempt to excuse her behavior by suggesting that God made her that way. Simply because she had the desire to commit adultery did not mean she couldn’t help herself. She made a choice. It wasn’t God’s fault for giving her a sex drive or for placing her in a situation that drove her into the arms of another man. She chose to do wrong.

The second thing Jesus tells her is to, “Go and sin no more.” Again He clarifies that her actions were indeed a sin and that she was guilty, but now He calls her to change her behavior since she has obtained mercy. Jesus does not say, “Well, I know you can’t help it because God made you that way. Obviously you have those desires and feelings because God put them there. So just ask for forgiveness every time because you are just being you.” No! He makes a clear expectation that she is to stop her sinful behavior!

God doesn’t make us rude or sinful. Our fleshly nature, which often opposes God, is what directs us this way.

For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” – Romans 8:6-8

God’s design is to conform us to the way Jesus is (See Romans 8:29), not leave us in the sinful state we were saved in. Think about it; if we were all truly acting the way God wanted us to be acting He would never have had to give us the Bible. In fact, He would never have had to send Christ to die for our sins. The reality of the situation is that we human beings are extremely flawed and have degraded from God’s original design which was “good” in the beginning. God didn’t create us to sin.

So the next time you are rude to someone or you act selfishly or just blatantly choose to sin, take caution not to compound your offense by blaming God for your bad behavior by saying, “God made me this way.” I assure you He did not. You made yourself that way by believing lies, caving to circumstances, or by just focusing on what you want. Instead, take responsibility, repent of your sin and bad behavior, and then “go and sin no more.” That is the kind of person God intends you to be.

We must realize that we are an unfinished product here on earth. We have been allotted a certain amount of time in this life for God to work on the broken vessel we have become and make something beautiful out of us… if we let Him. Allow the Lord to work in your life so that He can make you what He intended you to be. If you receive His salvation and allow the Holy Spirit to change you, one day you will stand in heaven and truly be able to say with great joy, “God made me this way!”