Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed (James 1:13-14)~ Seems like every day the national news is full of stories about senseless killings.. whether it’s another police related shooting or an attack on a school, mall or other public place. It often leaves one to ask “If everything is controlled by God then why are we killing others?”
One thing God has given every individual on earth is the free will to choose. Pastor Aaron Budjen of Living God Ministries has some insight on this that would be helpful. “If we assume that people have the choice to believe and follow God or not, then people have the freedom to choose not to follow God. For this choice to exist, people must have the liberty to live their lives in context of their rejection of God. For this to occur, it is necessary to allow people to choose to do evil. Therefore, the bad things that happen are not the choice of God, but the choice of the people who decided to do bad things. God has given everyone [the] freedom to choose to do evil or good. His giving us this choice does not make Him responsible for people’s evil choices. It is necessary however if we are going to have the freedom to choose not to do evil. Therefore, the allowance of evil is necessary to make allowance for people to do that which is good. This is the cost of our freedom.” The reason you have people killing each other is because you have sin in the world. And the reason you have sin in the world is because the first man, Adam, chose to disobey God. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12).” All of us have been born under the curse of sin. However, when we do sin it is because we have chosen to do so not because God has made us do it – nor is it because of the situation or condition He allows us to be in throughout our lives. We can’t say that God did something to us or put us here or left us there and that’s why we are like we are. We can’t justify our behavior by saying He created us like this or we were born that way. It wasn’t because we didn’t have both parents growing up or because we grew up poor or lived in a bad neighborhood and that’s all we knew. For each of those situations on which we blame our mischief, there are examples of those that chose another path that was contrary to the excuse we submitted. Rather than God putting us in bad situations that caused our lack of integrity, He allowed the disposition but also gave us an ‘out’ that we are responsible to choose.
Nothing sinful in the heart or conduct can be ascribed to God. He is not the author of the rubbish we carry in us, though his fiery trial exposes it. Those who lay the blame of sin, either upon their constitution, or upon their condition in the world, or pretend they cannot keep from sinning, wrong God as if He were the author of sin. Afflictions and dispositions, as sent by God, are designed to draw out our graces, but not our corruptions. The origin of evil and temptation is in our own hearts. We choose as to whether or not that temptation is taken to action. To stop the beginnings of sin, or all the evils that follow must be wholly charged upon us.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Cor 10:13).
(Thanks Ian for Contributing!!)