Responsibility (Deuteronomy 24:16)

Fathers shall not be put to death for [their] sons, nor shall sons be put to death for [their] fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.

Deuteronomy 24:16

I was mucking about on Facebook this morning (a terrible thing to do before the mind is completely awake) and saw a friend or two had linked an article about public breastfeeding. This connects to the verse. Really. The author of the article was sarcastic as the day is long and basically said (non-seriously) that breastfeeding women are responsible for what happens in the minds of others when they breastfeed in public. Being a married man and having seen my daughter breastfed, I can state categorically that I would not want others seeing that. And not for any of the reasons given by the article’s author.

The author makes this point (poorly, I might add): that people are shifting blame. Society, in the author’s opinion, are blaming mom’s who are breastfeeding for men’s lack of self-control where their thoughts are concerned. And a lack of self-control is a sin — take together James 4:17 which tells us that the one who knows the good that ought to be done and does not do it sins and Galatians 5:22 which lists self-control among the fruit of the Holy Spirit and my lack of self-control is a sin.

More to the point, a friend looked at a post I wrote a week or better ago and commented that I was shifting blame to a co-sinner in speaking of the sins in my past. While knowing the details of the situation might have changed this friend’s perspective, the point is valid. I am responsible for my own sins. No one else. It may be the case that my fellow sinners enticed me, but I chose to give in. Chocolate cake also entices me, so the enticement is actually a byproduct of my own sinful nature. My fellow sinners just happen to be holding the cake from time to time.

All this rambling, meandering thought to conclude this: We are each responsible for our own sin. I know that we all (myself included) want to shift the blame, but God doesn’t hold to that. God does not allow defenses pointing at how we were raised (or not) or how we’ve been treated (or mistreated) or how we were denied things or whatever. If I sin, it’s on me. If someone else sins, it’s on them. Neither of us is to blame for the other’s sin.


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