Can People Make You Sin?

How would you answer this question?  Can people make you sin?

Let’s start with this: Can people provoke you into sin?  Yes!  Several times we’re told that Jeroboam “made Israel to sin” (see 1 Kings 14:15-16; 16:9; 16:26; 2 Kings 10:31; 13:2; 13:11; 14:42; 15:9; 15:18).  Jezebel stirred up Ahab to do evil (1 Kings 21:25).  Fathers can provoke children to wrath (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21).  In this sense it can be said that people make you to sin.  People can influence you to do wrong (see Proverbs 22:24-25; Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33).

However, the important thing to remember is that we can overcome.  Noah overcame the social influences of his day (Genesis 6:5; 11-12 cf., Genesis 6:9).  Joseph was of good behavior in spite of his brethren (Genesis 50:14-19; cf. Genesis 37:27-28, 36).  Hezekiah turned out righteous in spite of a wicked father (2 Chronicles 28, 29), and Josiah likewise (2 Chronicles 33-34).  Read Romans 12:19-21.  Verse 21 clearly teaches that we can have control over our reactions and responses that goes on around us.

Steven M. Lloyd has written, “As long as we place the blame for our behavior on someone else, we will never learn to cope effectively with problems in life.  The reason for this is that we will always view the source or cause of the problem we face as resting with someone else.  Consequently, we will place the responsibility for our actions one someone else… As long as we deceive ourselves by playing the blame game, we will never effectively cope with our problems because we will always view the solution as existing outside ourselves.  If I have a behavioral problem, but continually blame you for the way I act, all I can do is wait for you to change before I can get my act together.  Which means I must put my life on hold until you start taking responsible steps of action to change things.  But the minute I assume the responsibility for my own actions I no longer must wait for you… Please do not misunderstand me!  I am not saying that evil influences have no part in the problem or the blame.  They do!  And those exerting the evil influence will give an account to God for that influence.  What I am saying is this: each party involved will be held accountable for how they contributed to the problem.  The one with the evil influence is responsibility for having violated the Divine will.  Far too often we want to blame others for our misbehavior.  But the fact is, even though others may have influenced us, we are still accomplices in the crime.  We are responsible and accountable to God and others for our actions” (COPING – A Biblical Approach, chapter 7).  Such is the correct Bible understanding.

We must determine to do what is right regardless of what others may do.  Consider the examples of Jesus (see 1 Peter 2:18-24).

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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