There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.
The comedian Flip Wilson was known for a signature phrase in his routines: “The devil made me do it!” It was obviously not a theological statement but a cultural reference implying he wasn’t responsible for whatever trouble he had gotten himself into. While his words made people laugh, blaming the devil or any other outside influence is no laughing matter.
It has been long observed that circumstances or people don’t make us who we are; rather, they reveal who we are. No one and no thing can make us angry, greedy, envious, or hateful, or turn us into lawless people. Jesus had a conversation with religious leaders of His day on this very subject. They blamed their laws and traditions for the fact that they couldn’t afford to care for their parents. Jesus turned the tables and said their problem was one of internal values, not external pressures or circumstances (Mark 7:8-16).
When it comes to confessing our sins, the responsibility lands on our doorstep. Thankfully, God promises to forgive what we truthfully confess.
Stewardship is the acceptance from God of personal responsibility for all of life and life’s affairs.
Roswell C. Long