Some of us, when we were children, may have on occasion been caught doing something we were told not to do or even knew better than to do. Upon being “caught, tried, convicted, and about to undergo our punishment,” we would exclaim in desperation, “I only did it because he/she did it!” The inevitable “parental” response was, “if he jumped off a cliff, would you?” At that point, we knew that mercy was gone and swift punishment was imminent.

When God asked Adam if he had eaten of the forbidden fruit, his response was, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” (Gen. 3:12) Obviously, the only fault here, according to Adam, was God for creating the woman and the woman for giving him the fruit! Somehow, Adam was convinced that the actions of God and Eve had justified his disobedience.

You would think that over time we would either learn our lesson or find a better reason for the things that we do which are wrong. I am afraid that some of us may be slow learners in this regard. For every action it seems now there is somebody or something responsible for our choices and if those decisions are wrong, we are justified because someone else did it first or influenced us. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says, “…we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive of the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” If that is not the ultimate in accountability and a direct contradiction to the belief that somehow someone else is responsible for my choices, I do not know what else God could have said.

It is important to note that it is not always wrong to do something because someone else did it first. Jesus told His disciples to follow Him. (Mark 1:17) He told others if they wanted to be His disciples, they would have to follow Him. (Matt. 19:21; Luke 9:23) Jesus specifically told His disciples that He was leaving them an example to follow. (John. 13:15) Peter said that the life Jesus lived and the suffering He endured was an example to us. (1 Pet. 2:21-25)

Paul would encourage other Christians to follow his example (2 Thess. 3:9) even to the extent of telling them to “imitate me as I imitate Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1) He would tell the church at Philippi that he had left them a “pattern” to follow and to note others who were following him also. (Phil. 3:17)

As with all spiritual decisions, it comes down to choice. Do we follow a crowd to do evil? (Exod. 23:2) Are we on the broad way to destruction following the many on that road? (Matt. 7:13) Do we choose the “narrow” and “difficult” way to life? (Matt. 7:14) Let us make sure if our stand is we did it because he did it, that we choose the “right He!”

Randy Reagan

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