“Here is what I have found,” says the Preacher, “adding one thing to the other to find out the reason, which my soul still seeks but I cannot find: one man among a thousand I have found, but a woman among all these I have not found. Truly, this only I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.”
By most accounts, he was a mature and well-adjusted young man. He was just making his way in the world as an adult and figuring out where he wanted his life to go. Yet, there was a part of life that still troubled him. Although he was out on his own and more independent than many his age, accountability was not his strong suit. He messed up, and he messed up a lot, which would not have been that terrible had he owned up to his faults. Instead, he turned to his imperfect childhood and his imperfect parents to place the blame for his own imperfections. He could never admit that, although he had not been raised in an ideal environment with loving support, the decisions he made were still his decisions.
We can sit here and blame Adam and Eve all we want for the evils we see around us. We can hypothesize that, had we been in the garden on that day, we would have chosen to rebuke the serpent. We can blame the sin that works within us for our willingness to succumb to temptation and follow it away from God. Yet, scripture is clear that each is accountable for his or her own choices. Our sinful condition and separation from God have not merely fallen upon us. We make willing, conscious decisions to separate ourselves from him, and we are responsible for those decisions. This accountability for sin is why Jesus had to come down and save us.
No one can argue his or her way out of the fate that awaits those who choose not to follow God. We cannot blame our sinful condition for our faults. We cannot blame those who invited sin into this world. The Lord holds us accountable for our decisions because they speak of our hearts’ desires either to honor God or defy him. We all have choices to make, and they are our choices. Thank God that He sent his Son to make a way for us to come out from under the judgment we deserve for those choices. Father, we praise You for your saving power, for providing freedom from judgment, for teaching us accountability yet extending grace to grant us life.