By Stephen Leonard
“For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” Romans 2:14-16
Rearing four of my own children afforded an up-close observation of their response to the world from their earliest age. Yes, our home was a Christian home that influenced how our children saw and responded to the world; but they had responses in some things, not unlike any child from a non-Christian or Christian home. For all of these children from both homes were created in God’s image.
In every human being, there is an innate sense of good and evil. This is so because man is made in the image of God. Furthermore, God has written His law on every person’s heart. This “conscience,” where the law is written, is an integral part of man’s essence and provides him or her with a moral compass.
The presence of sin creates a toxic element in that moral compass. Hence, personal morality is not always paramount in guiding them to the good. Sin intrudes itself consistently and continually in their compass, as it does in all of us.
We, as their parents, saw in our children at the earliest age a conscience operating that truly knew the difference between good and evil. They innately had a sense that some things were evil and others good. And this did not only arise from what we taught them. Their response to some things came from within themselves regardless of anything we had taught or not taught them. We personally recognized their conscience actively at work within them.
So, is it ever true that we can blame bad parents for our bad acts in any of us? Bad parents can certainly inspire bad behavior. Such parents are accountable for children who turn out to be woefully sinful adults.
But any individual person cannot escape based on blaming their behavior ultimately on anyone but themselves. Romans 1 claims that none of us can rest on the excuse that others are solely responsible for our sins. We are utterly without excuse! (Romans 1:20)
Taking responsibility for your own sin is necessary to your seeking a remedy, rather than blaming others. It should put you face to face with the One with whom you have to do: God. If you deal with Him, He has an answer.
But His answer is only one! His son, Jesus Christ, is the monolithic antidote. He alone has paid the true penalty for your sin. He alone provides the necessary escape from your sins. It is fruitless to seek an answer elsewhere, as so many try to do. They only “spin” themselves closer and closer to hell.
There is only one solution to turn from evil to good, and that is putting your life in the hands of Jesus. That is what my children had to do. It is what you and your children must do. You must deal with the One who made you. You must come willingly to His Son and find Him your all in all.
“Jesus, my all in all Thou art; my rest in toil, my ease in pain, the medicine of my broken heart, in war my peace, in loss my gain, my smile beneath the tyrant’s frown, in shame my glory and my crown.”
(3rd verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Thou Hidden Source of Calm Repose,” 1749)