I remember watching cartoons as a kid. When a character was tempted to do something wrong, up popped two images: an angel and a demon. The angel wanted him to do right, but the demon wanted him to do wrong. I’ve often had the same struggle.
I’ll admit I talk to myself. Oh, not out loud (well, sometimes). But I do have this conversation in my head. Part of me wants to do the right thing, or not do the wrong thing. But there is still a voice in me that tries to convince me to do wrong or not do right. Do you have these same voices?
Well, I’d like to talk about some of those voices. For this post I’d like to talk about the voice that is trying to get us to do wrong. What do the voices say? What rationalizations are we trying to convince ourselves that it’s okay to do wrong?
1. You deserve this.
This is an excuse we tell ourselves when life hasn’t been going so good. When you’ve had a few pitfalls you really feel like you need some good things going in your life. And when you are presented with a good thing, it’s easy to rationalize doing something wrong to get it.
Sometimes when we’re underpaid, we feel we deserve to take a few office supplies. When our spouse has treated us wrong, we deserve to treat them wrong. I guess we’re trying to balance out the good with the bad, whatever the cost. We think ‘I deserve to be happy.’
However, this is a foolish decision. If you’ve had some bad things happen to you it’s possibly because you’ve made some bad choices. To make another bad decision (to do wrong) would only make matters worse. But even if your bad situation is no fault of your own, God wants to use it to build character in you. So that means you are very close to a spiritual breakthrough and God’s blessings. By choosing wrong you will turn what God means for a blessing to a cursing. Disobedience always brings trouble.
2. “Nobody’s Perfect.”
This is a true statement. But we don’t have to prove it. Often we excuse our doing wrong with the attitude that others do it and I’m no better than they are. Or, especially if we have been tempted and failed previously, we have a defeated attitude and accept that’s just the way I am.
For me, when I am tempted I feel an inner pressure to do the wrong. Sometimes it initiates from outside, like a person or activity. But eventually the temptation excites the sinful nature that still exists in me. The problem is we enjoy the temptation, not just the sin. We think about it, dream about it, cultivate it, way before we do it. The pressure of the temptation will soon wear us down, and too many of us give in.
Even though we will never mature out of our selfish & sinful nature, we can yield more and more to the control of the Holy Spirit. Every time we say ‘Yes’ to our inner sinful voice we weaken our spirit. But every time we say ‘No’ we strengthen it. Every choice we make either weakens or strengthens our spirit. We’ll never be perfect until we get to Heaven. But we can see drastic improvement as we obey.
3. God will forgive me.
There is pleasure in sin, otherwise it would have no temptation. In the Garden of Eden, Eve noticed that the fruit on the forbidden tree was pleasant to look at and would probably taste good. When we are tempted to enjoy something forbidden, we think, ‘I’ll just go ahead and do it, then ask God to forgive me.’ That way we can enjoy the sin and be forgiven for it. We think it’s like getting dirty, then take a shower, and we’re back to normal.
God will forgive all sin. He will even forgive the sin you are contemplating now. But forgiveness does not remove consequences. You can choose to sin but you cannot choose the consequences of your sin.
There’s an old southern gospel song that reminds me of the consequences of sin. “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
Please turn a deaf ear to the voices that tempt you to do the wrong thing.