Why It's Important to Take Responsibility for the Choices We Make (And Why We Don't Want To)

curse of the fall free will gods got this impact of sin Aug 14, 2023

I googled, "Do people take responsibility for the choices they make?" 

I'll tell you why I asked that question in a minute.

This is what came up at the top of the page:

We are ultimately responsible for our own choices, consequences, happiness, and our lives in total. We are almost always in control of what is going on, and when things are not going the way we would like, or we make choices that are not the best, we need to look at our role in situations.

That quote came from an article titled Make Wise Choices and Take Responsibility  posted on the neuroandcounselingcenter.com 

I like it!

To me, the mindset that embraces that statement is one that empowers people to make decisions that guide their lives in the direction they want to go.

Of course, a part of our Christian life is that we give up the "reins" so to speak, and invite God to direct our path. There's Proverbs 3:5-6, and Matthew 16:24 that urge us not to put our confidence in our own understanding, and to focus our energy on following Jesus rather than blazing our own trail. Maybe it's this "not me, but Thee" exchange the goes against the grain of a "Me 1st" culture. However, even in our journey of follow-ship with Jesus, the Bible teaches that each of us are responsible to choose how we will live our lives--even whether or not we choose to yield them to God's Lordship.

But, there is a common philosophy prevalent today, that goes against this foundational biblical truth. And I want to use my daughter's husky to illustrate the current thought.

Why I asked Google "Do people take responsibility for the choices they make?" 

Titan is a gentle dog. He looks menacing with his piercing blue eyes and wolf-like characteristics, but he is kind, long-suffering (with Callie, our golden doodle), and eager to please, 


He sees (or finds) an opportunity to break free and...

...slaughter our chickens and ducks

...or do what he did in October of 2020 when he led my even kinder english shepherd to a pre-mature death on a midnight run.

Titan, in my book, actually has10 chickens, 2 ducks and one really great dog on his extremely marred record. Nevertheless, we continue to feed and care for him, pet and love him, forgive him over, and over, and over again...AND build better fences to contain him.

All the while, he just sits in his new favorite spot under the treehouse looking out over his vast domain as if he were king of the yard watching his people serve him with better constraints. Or, he's on the run like the convicted felon that he is. (In fact, he is on the run right now as I write this article! )

Titan NEVER has to take responsibility for the choices he's made! 

It's uncanny. 

When I asked my 11 year old granddaughter Misty how she felt about him killing her chickens (the first time), she said, "Nana, I can't be mad at him--it's just his instinct. He can't help it." 

So instinct is code for, the way he's wired, and therefore, out of even his control.

I am amazed at Misty's generous benevolence toward Titan, and she's not wrong. Dogs like Titan instinctually run when they get a chance, and they kill feathered friends.

Unfortunately, that same mindset has drifted into our culture. Perhaps it's connected to the origins of life theory that remove an intelligent Creator. For, if we evolved from slime, wouldn't that make us the same as all other living organisms? Aren't we all simply living in this marvelously mysterious world interacting with each other for a season of less than 100 years (for most of us)?

If we separate ourselves from "in the beginning, God" (Genesis 1:1) and "God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils" (Genesis 2:7) there's nothing that special about us.

Here's how it plays out. People do things that are wrong, then they shirk responsibility for their actions by blaming them on forces beyond their control (either internal or external). People live as if they are at the mercy of their instinct the same as huskies! 

If people are driven by instinct, there are thereby released of all responsibility.

And as a result, people develop an aloofness that dismisses the consequences other people are paying for their poor choices; or they play the blame game and hide behind "faulty" institutions and systems that have created the circumstances that caused them to do the deed.

Abdicating Responsibility Diminishes Free Will

Dismissal of responsibility is a ploy of Satan to confuse us regarding the freedom we've been given to choose for ourselves how we will live. Satan introduced the concept of abdicating responsibility in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3.

Look at how Adam dodged personal responsibility when God called him to give an account for the wrong he had done; 

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Who is Adam blaming? Eve? or God? Sounds to me like he's ultimately shoving the responsibility for the situation on God.

Satan introduced a shifty way of thinking that boomerangs responsibility of your actions to powers beyond your control. He did this by enticing Eve, not to eat the apple, but to doubt God.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.

Did you see how he did that? Satan directed Eve's attention away from her abundance and focused it on her lack. Then he got her to thinking..."did God really say...??"

Before that moment in time Eve most likely didn't have any problem with what God said. She was satisfied with what He'd provided for her. But now that the serpent mentioned it.

What on earth was going on? 

Once Satan had Eve wondering, he sucker punched her with an outright lie; not attached to the facts, but rather stitched to the motives behind the facts. In that fuzzy world of "I wonder what they might've meant by that?" Satan lured Eve away from her trust and confidence in God's love by telling her that His motives were self-serving, and that she was, therefore missing out. 

Eve played right into his trap by noticing, not only that the food was good to eat, but also desirable for gaining wisdom.

It would be reasonable to wonder why God didn't show up then and stop all this from happening! I certainly would've done that. If it meant saving my people from the pain that most certainly follows the consequences of poor choices, I would spend my life running from loved one to loved one like some kind of super-hero arriving just in the nick of time to redirect their attention to another tree.

I'd have to have super-power to do that, but if I had it, I'd do it.

But there was a very good reason why God didn't. And it has everything to do with free will. 

 Jesus told us that Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. But that He came to give us life more abundantly. (John 10:10) 

One of the ways that Satan steals from us, is by tricking us into giving up the freedom we have to choose to trust God's love for us, so that we get to live as recipients of the abundance He has for us. 

There's a lot there in what I just wrote, go back and read it again.

What happened after "the fall?" Adam and Eve were dismissed from the Garden of Eden. They were separated from the abundance God had for them.

But back to our original theme: 

Why it's important to take responsibility for the choices we make, and why we don't want to...

Notice that once God did show up, He confronted Adam first. And Adam's response to God's question regarding the forbidden fruit was this...

"That woman...You gave me..."

Over and over we hear that the reason someone broke "the rules" or behaved in a way that wounded another person, is because they were influenced by forces (internal or external) that were beyond their control. 

If we buy into their excuses, we take away the power they have to make their own decisions. Note that God did not take the bait. He held everyone responsible for their part of the deed;

  •  Eve for tempting Adam --she followed suit and blamed the serpent,
  •  the serpent for tempting Eve, and
  •  Adam for giving in.
  • All of them reaped the consequences of the choices they made.

God came on the scene and in essence said, 

Adam, Eve, Serpent you are ultimately responsible for your own choices, consequences, happiness, and lives in total.  You are almost always in control of what is going on, and when things are not going the way you would like, or you make choices that are not the best, you need to look at your role in situations.

Then He doled out the consequences.

When it's time to accept the consequences of our own poor decisions...

No one loves consequences. 

Read Genesis 3 and get a load of those curses!

Even with thousands of years separating us from that fateful day; and even with advancement in technology; we are still reaping the consequences just as much now (or almost as much...can you say "thank God for epidurals?!")  as they did then.

The reason people want to sidestep responsibility is because they don't like to suffer. But, the more often we blame powers beyond our control for the way we behave, the less likely we are to feel empowered to be all God's created us to be.

Look what happens when we allow people to evade responsibility for the choices they make...

If we play into the theory that people are victims of systems, institutions, and other powers beyond their control, people become weak and in need of saving. We develop a Savior complex and set out to exercise our super-powers to save them. 

And isn't the Savior complex just another example of desiring to be like God, or, be God? 

When we move into Wonder Woman or Superman mode, we begin taking responsibility for the choices they make, and eventually we might begin treating them like our family treats Titan.  We dismiss their actions (that might even have been destructive to others), and start building fences to protect them.

After a while, our social order begins to look like my backyard; all chopped into pieces, with sturdy fences, marking off territories, in order to separate all my pets from each other, in an effort to keep them safe.

If you've chosen this victim mentality, don't be surprised if you find yourself sitting regally under a tree house in a shrinking backyard. There's not much freedom in that.

I wrote a book published by Dayspring called Taking Responsibility for the Choices We Make. I encourage you to get a copy and read it. It's a whole lot more about the incredible gift God's given you to exercise your own free will. 



Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.