Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Referees and the Sinful Heart

Are Referees to Blame?
By Daniel Shultz

            Recently I got into a heated discussion with a male acquaintance over a sporting event, as I am prone to do every once in a while. It revolved around my team (Arizona Wildcats) and his team (USC Trojans) he maintained the only reason USC lost was because of the referees and the amount of penalties that were called on the Trojans. I was adamant that a loss cannot be blamed solely on the referees. It got me thinking about how much we as humans blame our problems on outside sources.

            Personal responsibility is something we don’t like much anymore. The idea that we alone are responsible for our actions and that we are judged based on those actions isn’t a very popular idea. Yet the Bible makes it clear that this is the case. Each individual is responsible for the choices he or she makes.  Ezekiel 18 is about this responsibility and verses 19-20 sum it up very nicely:
19 “Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. 20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

Occasionally someone or something outside of that person will deal a “bad hand” and often human sin nature will want to blame that bad hand for the choices we make. How can you blame me for my sinful desires when women dress so provocatively? How can you blame me for my anger when I was abused as a child? While psychologically these things factor into our decisions we are still ultimately responsible for our actions. Out of our hearts comes sin and nothing that comes into the body can cause it to sin.
17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Matthew 15:17-20
While this passage uses food and drink to illustrate that outside things cannot defile us, it makes clear that it is out of the heart that our evil thoughts and our sin comes. The problem is not external factors making us sin but our hearts taking those external things and making them our excuses and mediums for sin.

We cannot blame the referees for our loss, just like we cannot blame outside factors for our sin when we ourselves are truly responsible. We must take responsibility for our actions and come before God with sorrow and confession. But there is good news, the Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ the Son of God and second part of the Trinity came down in the form of a man to take the punishment for our sins. If we come to him and confess our sins than he will forgive them. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 When we place our trust in Christ all our sins are washed away and God looks at us as righteous children.

P.S. After looking at the official stats Arizona was penalized more times in that game than USC, sure makes it look like an even more faulty argument.

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