Daily Devotional for Sunday December 18, 2011
Because I Could
(Deuteronomy 26:16; Joshua 1:8; Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 5:29; Revelation 22:14)
I remember during an interview with Dan Rather on "60 Minutes" several years ago, former President Bill Clinton made a very profound statement in regard to his affair with Monica Lewinsky. President Clinton said, "I think I did something for the worst possible reason -- just because I could. I think that's the most, just about the most morally indefensible reason that anybody could have for doing anything. When you do something just because you could. I've thought about it a lot. And there are lots of more sophisticated explanations, more complicated psychological explanations. But none of them are an excuse." AMEN!!!
Everyday I am dealing with the very real lives of very real people who have made the conscious choice to sin against God. Men and women. Those who are rich and those who are poor. People of all ages. Regardless of what the sin is or the circumstances involved, the bottom line is that it was a choice that person made to disobey God....because they could! You see, God gave man free will to make choices, otherwise we would be nothing more than robots. Everyday, many times throughout the day, we make the choice to obey God or disobey Him.
I will never forget when I was 10, the first time I was allowed to stay home all by myself. It might have been 20 minutes after my mother was gone that I realized she was not around to see what I was doing. We had certain rules on what time we could have snacks and what we were allowed to have. As I was watching television, I remembered thinking that since mom wasn't home, she wouldn't know if I had an extra snack. So I went to the kitchen, to the pantry where the cookies were, went to the refrigerator and poured myself a big glass of milk, and sat down at the table and for the next 15 minutes ate cookies.
I will never forget to this day knowing deep down inside as I was getting the cookies out of the pantry that what I was doing was wrong. I am not even sure if I was really that hungry or wanted the cookies. It really boiled down to the fact I was all alone, nobody was there, and I COULD. Oh, something else about sin, it ALWAYS leaves a mess. Of course I did my best to put the cookies back exactly where I got them (not thinking that there were now about a dozen fewer), did my normal poor job of washing the glass I used for the milk and put it back in the cabinet (still dripping), and cleaned the area of the table I used (but not the floor underneath).
A few hours later at dinner, I remember that I was not very hungry. Normally I would clean my plate in minutes and be begging for more. But this night, I had a hard time eating all of my food and had to force down the last few bites. I remember the guilt as my mother asked me several times why I was not hungry and giving her some lame excuse about not feeling well. It was later that evening as I was getting in bed that my mother and father came into my room. As a child, you always know when mom and dad come to see you right before you go to bed, something is wrong.
My mother asked me how things went being in the house all alone. I told her everything went fine. She asked me what I did. I told her I watched television. She asked if I did anything else, and deep down I knew that somehow she knew I had eaten the cookies. The guilt was already more than I could bear so I told her that I was hungry and decided to eat some cookies. My father then got involved and asked me if I realized that when I was eating the cookies, I knew that I was breaking one of the house rules since it was not snack time. I told him that I did and I was sorry. He went on to explain to me that one reason they had such a rule was so that me and my brothers would be hungry for dinner and have a good balanced diet. The rule was not to keep us from enjoying cookies, but to keep us healthy.
They told me how disappointed they were and asked me if I was sorry for what I had done. I assured them that I was. My father then told me that I would not be allowed to watch any football that weekend and would have some extra chores to do around the house. Before they left, they prayed for me. I remember laying in my bed that night, thinking how those few cookies weren't worth having my parents disappointed in me, and it sure wasn't worth having to miss football that weekend. I was mad at myself for doing something I knew that I shouldn't, just because I could.
I love you and care about you so much. I realize a 10-year-old boy eating some cookies he was not supposed to while being home alone is not what most would consider a horrible thing to do. The fact was we had rules in our home about when we were allowed to eat snacks, I consciously chose to break that rule, did a poor job of trying to cover it up, was caught, and had to pay a price for my choice to disobey. In looking back, I wasn't starving to death, I really didn't even want to eat the cookies that bad. As much as anything it was an opportunity for me to rebel and do something I knew I wasn't supposed to, if for no other reason than BECAUSE I COULD!
The fact is, my parents rule on snacks was there to make my life better, not worse. So often we look at God's "rules" in the Bible as being there to keep us from having fun in life when in fact, they are there to insure we have fun in life. When we choose to disobey God, there are always consequences, always a price to pay. After we sin, the first thing we do is try to cover it up. Adam literally did that after his sin by making some crude clothes to cover up his body.
We are foolish to even try to cover up our sin, since God sees everything that we do. Sin always involves others, we don't sin in a vacuum. Sin is like throwing a pebble into a still lake, watching the ripples of that initial pebble expand out further and further. When you choose to sin, others will always be affected in some way. Sadly, sin always carries a price tag greater than we ever wanted to pay. Sin costs my friend, and costs much more than you ever imagined.
I will be praying for you today. The reality is, everyday, many times throughout the day, you have the choice to obey God or disobey Him. I pray that in the coming hours of this day, these words will ring in your heart and mind as you are faced with the opportunity to obey God. I pray that you will understand that sin simply isn't worth it. Sin carries consequences, obedience carries blessings. What do you want today in your life, consequences, or blessings?
Instead of having to say I sinned because I could, let your testimony be I obeyed God, BECAUSE I COULD!!!
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller