“Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them:”
God addresses five levels of people and their influence on your life. The first person God deals with is the individual. He says in the verse above, “If a soul shall sin…” God then moves on to the priests, the congregation, the ruler, and finally the common people. You can look at these and see different relationships in your life that can influence you to do right or wrong. The priest would be your preacher. The congregation would be your church family. The ruler would be the leaders of society and your authorities. The common people would be work associates and friends. God realizes that each of these groups of people have an influence on your life for good or bad. Three lessons can be learned from this chapter about your dealing with sin and influences.
First, you are responsible for your own actions. It is interesting that the first person God deals with is you. He says, “If a soul shall sin…” God didn’t say why the individual sinned or who influenced them to sin, but it is the fact that sinned. You can blame your sin on others, but it ultimately comes down to you choosing to sin. Nobody makes you sin. Others may influence you for wrong, but you ultimately make the choice to do wrong. Stop blaming others. Just because the preacher does wrong doesn’t give you an excuse to do wrong. Just because the church family compromises or does wrong is no excuse to compromise. Just because the rulers of the day legalize sin doesn’t make sin right. Just because your work associates and friends do wrong is no excuse to join them. God holds you accountable for your choice to sin. If the whole world does wrong, God still holds you responsible for your actions and expects you to do right.
Second, position is no excuse for sin. Just because nobody else can do anything to you because of your position doesn’t give you the right to sin. God deals with those in position doing wrong because they influence others. Position should cause you to be more cautious about what you do because of your influence on others. Yes, you are responsible for your own actions, but you are also responsible for those you influence to do wrong. As a parent, you influence your children for right or wrong, and it would be a terrible thing that your sinful actions influenced them to do wrong. Though they may be accountable for their own sin, you are accountable to God for how you influenced them. No matter what your position may be, you are responsible for what you do and those you influence.
Third, be careful with who you let to influence you. The influences in your life that you can choose are your pastor, church family and friends. You must be careful that these influences would challenge you and put pressure on you to do right and not appease your desire to do wrong. The influences you cannot control are the rulers of your day and your work associates. Though you cannot control them, you can choose not to yield to their invitations to sin.
My friend, doing right or wrong all starts with the individual. You are the one who must choose what you do. God gives no excuse for sin, and neither should you. Be careful about your influences, but when influences do wrong, you must still choose to do right.