When salmon travel hundreds of miles up rivers and streams to spawn where they were hatched, they act on instinct. In a sense, they are driven by an uncontrollable force. People, on the other hand, are different. We cannot blame instinct for our actions. We are responsible. Even though we may feel driven, we make the choices that lead to our downfall.
A young convict who escaped execution through a last-minute decision from a Supreme Court Justice considers human conduct and animal instinct the same. Referring to the murders he committed and to his own fate, he said, “Things just happen.” He apparently thinks some kind of force was responsible for his pulling the trigger and killing two people who happened to be at the scene of the crime.
More than 2,500 years ago, some Israelites said essentially the same thing. They quoted a well-known proverb that placed the blame for their sins on their ancestors (Ezekiel 18:2). But Ezekiel told them they were all wrong. He said that a good man will not be punished for the sins of a wicked son. Neither will a godly son be punished for the sins of his evil father.
No matter what our situation, we are responsible for what we do. We might as well stop making excuses for our sins and take the first step in exercising individual responsibility – acknowledge our guilt and then put our trust in Jesus Christ. – Herbert Vander Lugt
Many people excuse their own foolishness by calling it fate.
- July 30, Vol. 1, Our Daily Bread