On two separate occasions in recent months I was reminded of our dangerous tendency to justify our actions. The first was in New York. The second was at one of my favorite breakfast haunts.
I heard Tim Keller preach at Redeemer in Manhattan. He was captivating. He said, “Human beings have an almost infinite capacity to justify our actions.” He joked that even the mafia hit man remembers to send his mom flowers. The irony.
Then, while enjoying a chicken biscuit, I came across a familiar Bible story. It’s the one where Isaac lies about his wife’s identity (Genesis 26). He feared the Philistines might kill him and take his wife Rebekah, so he said she was his sister. Later, the Philistine king Abimelek sees Isaac touching Rebekah in a very un-sister-like manner and he puts two and two together.
He confronts Isaac with this bizarre logic. He asks, “What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.” (Genesis 26:10, emphasis mine)
The ‘ol switcheroo!
Admittedly, Isaac put Abimelek in tough spot by not sharing the truth. That was not okay. But, notice how Abimelek breezes right past the part where one of his men might’ve had relations with a woman who wasn’t his own wife! The issue was not with the man who tracked Rebekah down. It was with the guy who gave her the fake ID.
I understand that extramarital sex might not have been taboo according to the Philistine culture. We can’t expect pagans to play by the believers’ rule book. But, that’s precisely the point. They’d gone so long in a defiant direction, that the actions which once were the main issue were now secondary.
We’re back to the hired gun Keller cited. “Sure, I may be a killer, but I never forget Mother’s Day! What kind of animal would do that?!”
Are we part of the problem?
Have we gone that far in our country? Or, more troubling, have we drifted into these dangerous waters in our homes? Has the primary problem been tucked carefully behind a well-constructed smokescreen of secondary issues?
If we each want to be a godly Father, here are a few questions we can