What form of injustice irritates you more quickly than any other form of injustice? Call it a pet peeve, or a major frustration, or an insult, but whatever you call it, this form of injustice instantly angers you. It is unfair; it is a deceptive distortion; and it certainly is undeserved.

We all probably know more than one form of injustice that really irritates us. One of mine is being blamed and held accountable for something that I did not do.

"It is your fault! You are the one who caused this!" Not only did I not do it, but I was in no way involved in it. "But you knew about it--this could not have happened without your knowing about it. And if you knew about it, you are responsible." I did not know it would happen. "Well, I am sure that you could have stopped it if you wanted to. You have the power to stop things like this!" I had no control over what happened. "You can deny it any way you want to, but I know it is your fault! I know that you are the person who should be blamed!"

This type of accusation occurs when the angry person has a fixed perception of you. His fixed perception of you interprets the meaning of everything that happens. He is hurting and angry. He needs someone to blame. And you are the person. He is certain that your knowledge, or your power, or your control, or your influence could have controlled the situation.

I would be surprised if there is an adult man or woman here who has not experienced that form of injustice.

But no adult has ever experienced that injustice to the extent that God has. Our reasoning is very simple. God knows everything. God even knows the hearts of people. Nothing happens without God's awareness. And God has all power. Therefore God's knowledge and power equals ability and opportunity. All that happens is God's fault--if God does not want it to happen, it does not happen; if God wants it to happen it happens. If God simply permits it to happen, it is still God's fault.

  1. This certainly is not a new view of God--in fact, it is the first view of God to be held by man who did evil.
    1. In Genesis 3 we are told that the evil one tempted the first woman to defy God.
      1. The evil one very successfully played with her mind.
      2. He questioned and suggested--he cunningly planted thoughts and ideas.
      3. She followed her imagination to suspicion and to desire.
      4. Temptation intensified desire, and intense desire led her to defy God.
    2. Evil always seeks companionship.
      1. From the context it seems that the first man listened as the evil one played with his wife's mind and desires, and said nothing.
      2. It also seems that he went with her to the forbidden tree.
      3. When she ate the forbidden fruit, all she had to do was hand him a piece.
      4. The first man was hardly an innocent victim who had no idea about what he was doing or what he was eating.
    3. The awareness of evil had immediate impact on both of them.
      1. They were immediately aware that they were naked.
        1. Prior to the awareness of evil, nakedness was of no significance.
        2. It was in no way bad.
        3. It was in no way embarrassing.
        4. It was in no way shameful.
      2. But with the awareness of evil they experienced two emotions that they had never known--shame and fear.
        1. In shame they tried to cover their nakedness.
        2. In fear they tried to hide from the presence of God.
      3. When they heard the presence of God, they hid.
        1. God asked, "Where are you?"
        2. "We heard the sound of your presence, and we were afraid because we were naked, so we hid."
        3. "Who told you that you were naked? Have you done what I told you not to do?"
      4. This is the moment the "God, it is your fault," injustice was created by a sinful human being.
        1. The word "sin" means to miss the mark.
        2. By yielding to their desires, they "missed the mark."
        3. God did not "miss the mark; "they "missed the mark."
        4. But the first man said that it was God's fault that he "missed the mark."
        5. "The woman you gave me picked the fruit and gave it to me to eat."
        6. Or, "God, if you had never given me that woman, this would not have happened."
        7. The simple truth is this: the first man ate because he choose to eat--it was his decision and his responsibility.

  2. We have learned well, and we repeat well.
    1. The first man's conclusion was wrong.
      1. He did not eat because his wife handed him the fruit.
      2. He ate because he chose to eat.
      3. He knew and understood what was expected of him, what he was not to do.
      4. He knew the consequences of his choice.
      5. He did what he chose to do.
    2. It is not difficult for us to look at Adam, listen to his excuse, and shake our heads at such a lame excuse.
      1. We commonly shake our heads in disbelief as people use the same lame excuse.
        1. "Boss, this accident is your fault--you gave me a job."
        2. "Dad, this car wreck is your fault--you bought me the car."
        3. "Wife, my overweight is your fault--you cook the food."
        4. "Husband, my overdrafts are your fault--you told me to carry the check book."
      2. We lament the conditions in society that exist because so many people refuse to take responsibility for their actions.
      3. Then we all use the same excuse when we unjustly hold God accountable for things God did not do.
        1. "God, it is your fault that the person I love is desperately sick."
        2. "God, it is your fault that a drunk driver killed a family member."
        3. "God, it is your fault that my family has fallen apart."
        4. "God, it is your fault that I am in economic ruin."
        5. "God, it is your fault that my world is falling apart."
        6. "God, it is your fault that evil causes so much sorrow and suffering in our world."

  3. There was another key figure who played an essential role in bringing evil into the human experience--the crafty evil one.
    1. He initiated the incident that resulted in Adam and Eve rebelling against God.
      1. He fueled Eve's suspicion and turned suspicion into distrust of God.
      2. He deceived her into believing that there was value and reward in experiencing evil.
      3. He effectively lied, successfully deceived.
      4. It happened because the liar deceived.
    2. Adam and Eve's problem did not begin with God; Adam and Eve's problem began with Satan.
      1. Paul expressed spiritual concern for the Corinthian Christians with this statement: I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).
      2. In the same chapter Paul warned them about false prophets and reminded them that even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
      3. Paul, in speaking of Eve, told Timothy the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression (1 Timothy 2:14).
      4. The problem was not created by God; the problem was created by Satan's deception.
      5. Speaking of Satan, Jesus said, Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies (John 8:44).

  4. Holding God accountable for Satan's work in human life is simplistic and naive.
    1. In this world, in human life, Satan and the forces of evil are powerful beyond our comprehension.
      1. Peter called Satan our adversary and said that he prowls about as a roaring lion (lions roar when they are hungry and hunting) seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
        1. Satan roams our world using evil to eat people.
        2. He prowls this world looking for people to destroy.
      2. Because Christ is more powerful than Satan, because Christ can resurrect to life and restore what Satan destroyed, Christians tend to look at Satan and evil as a "non-force" after a person chooses to belong to God.
    2. Satan loves for us to do one to two things:
      1. Blame God for what he does.
      2. Doubt his power and disregard him as a significant force in Christian's lives.
    3. The war in human life between Christ and Satan, between righteousness and evil, is very complex and complicated.
      1. While it is very real, we will always have more questions than answers.
      2. We are asked to understand these things:
        1. It was not God's choice for evil to become a force in human life; it was the choice of humanity.
        2. God cannot destroy evil as a force in humanity, not in time, not in this world.
        3. God can destroy the eternal consequences of evil in any life through forgiveness.
        4. While God can forgive and restore our relationship with Him, God cannot (in this life) remove all consequences as though evil never occurred.
    4. Let me challenge you to think about something.
      1. Satan deceived Judas and led him to betray Jesus.
      2. Satan terrified Peter and led him to deny Jesus.
      3. Satan turned the Jewish people that Jesus healed and blessed against Jesus to the point that they shouted for his death.
      4. Satan deceived the men who knew the most about scripture to the extent that they had Jesus killed.
      5. Satan was successful in getting Jesus nailed to a cross to suffer a painful, disgraceful death.
      6. Satan led people to kill most of the apostles.
      7. Satan led people to persecute and kill Christians.
      8. Satan created all kinds of problems among Christians in the first century.
      9. How can we look at all that and conclude that Satan and evil cannot cause suffering and problems in the lives of Christians today?

"Well, with all His power, God ought to put an end to Satan and evil in this world. He should stop what Satan is doing to people." God can and God will. But there is only one way that God can use His power to destroy all evil. God can and will destroy all evil when He brings this world to an end. This physical world will cease to exist. The day of judgment will come. All will stand before God. Satan and all who served Satan will be confined to hell eternally. Evil will never touch the forgiven people of God again.

"Well, what is He waiting on?" He wants none to be destroyed eternally. He wants everyone to have maximum opportunity to repent. Because He wants more people to accept His forgiveness, He is delaying that moment (2 Peter 3:9). But that day is coming, and nothing can stop that day from coming.

If you want God to become a more powerful, helpful force in your life, learn to stop holding God responsible for Satan's work.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 28 December 1997

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