Ever have the I've-just-been-punched feeling in the pit of your stomach after you've done something really bad?
Ever have those moments of "God, I wish I could take that one back!"
Ever see the life vanish from someone's eyes as you say something or do something that stabs them in the heart?
I have. I've been on both ends of the coin. Neither side feels pleasant, so it's just a lot easier to avoid it altogether.
The thing that's puzzling isn't the fact that we do bad things (we're human, remember?). The puzzling fact is how seldom we take responsibility for doing the bad things. We're dishonest. We "little white lie" our way around it. We avoid talking about it. We pretend it doesn't exist. We get really busy or we get really lazy. We get depressed or we go find a way to get happy.
It's all an attempt to forget about the wrong we've done, because facing it hurts too bad.
This is when our excuses come into play. "Well...it's not my fault." No? Then whose is it? You may ramble off some names of other people involved in the situation. You may even blame your parents for not loving you the way they should have.
When all of that doesn't work, you can look someone in the eye and say "The Devil made me do it," and many would shake their head in agreement.
You know...Lucifer? The guy that's the opposite of Jesus. The one that tempts you to do bad things. No, sorry, not tempts you to do bad things, but makes you do bad things. Imagine a person with horns coming out of the tips of their head and breathing fire as they spoke.
Tell me, what's tempting about that? If anything, you'd run the other direction and not take advice from someone who doesn't even remotely resemble a human being you can trust.
No, sorry to break it to ya, but there's no Devil making you do anything. It's you choosing to do what you want to do. Because you feel like you'll be judged for making a bad choice (maybe even an immoral choice), you need someone to blame it on. You need a reasonable explanation to take away the guilt, the anxiety, the horrible "I can't believe I did this" feeling you get in the pit of your stomach. You can't stand up and take responsibility for your actions and say "Yes! I robbed the bank!" or "Yes, I did something very bad!"
It's easier to blame it on something someone can't see. You know, like the Devil.
Here's something you gotta know about blaming the Devil for your mishaps.
It keeps you stuck. You'll keep making the same mistakes because you haven't taken responsibility for making them happen in the first place. You can't cure what you don't acknowledge.
It makes you the victim. When you blame someone else (or the Devil) for your mishaps and mistakes, you're screaming from the rooftops that you don't have control over your life. You're also saying that the evil in the world far outweighs the good.
It makes you guilty. There's a lot of guilt in the world. People do some crazy odd things every day. If you stand up and take responsibility, you can get over your guilt through forgiveness. If you blame the Devil, prepare to feel all kinds of hellish guilt for a very long time. (How much pain can you stand?)
If you want to stop using the Devil (and everything/one else) as your excuse for the atrocious circumstances or situations that you may get involved in, why not do this: Own it. Own your choices. Own the decisions you've made.
Don't go stabbing yourself with ridicule and self-hatred, just accept that you messed up. You messed up and the feelings you have are the consequences. Yes, the pain can be unbearable, but if you keep running from it, it'll never go away and you'll continue to face the same crap over and over.
The road doesn't get easier because you've buried your head in the sand. In fact, it gets harder. Save yourself some grief. When you mess up, own it. Apologize if necessary. Do what you have to do to make amends.
But for goodness sakes, stop blaming the Devil for your bad decisions. If you believe in God, then more than likely you believe He can conquer everything. Even the Devil. So let's throw the Devil excuse out of our vocabulary and start being responsible for the actions we choose to take.