Know Your Bible

VOL. 8                           May 17, 2009                           NO. 17

"They're Going To Do It Anyway!"


      We should have seen this coming. The current slowdown in the economy has recently brought the proponents of the legalization of marijuana out of the woodwork, and this time they are arguing from the standpoint of possible federal, state, and local tax revenue as 'positive' reasons why it should be embraced. Part of the 'reasoning' from the legalization crowd, once again, is: "They're going to do it anyway," so now, they argue, "We might as well make money off of it and regulate it at the same time." Even as they argue this once again, they persist in ignoring the facts about 'recreational' use of marijuana and its effects [distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory], and the numerous studies that have clearly shown it to be a 'gateway' drug that leads many to the use of harder and more danger- ous and more destructive  drugs. They also ignore the fact that about 27% of those in prison admitted to drug use at the time of their crimes, and another 14% admitted to committing the crime to obtain money to buy illegal drugs [Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1997]. They certainly have to ignore the fact that among arrested juveniles, the illegal drug use is about 66% [National Institute of Justice, 1999].


    I am afraid there are some politicians now in office that see only the possibility of tax revenue [cha-ching!] and none of the effects of their immoral decisions, and are going to blindly and blithely approve of its legalization, to the detriment of our current and future society. Some, ever eager to please the ones who make the most noise [or threaten them with the most lawsuits], have kowtowed and are joining in the rising opposition to anyone who would dare call for morality among us. It seems no one in high places has moral fiber anymore and it's now just the old "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mentality.


    But this mind set, unfortunately, is not new and it is becoming more common as man becomes more and more removed from God's standards. This same line of 'reasoning' ["They're going to do it anyway" or even "They are already doing it"] is also being used by some groups who are pushing for the legalization of prostitution, the dispensing of condoms to teenagers in the public schools, and even those who seek higher speed limits. To the proponents of these things, the fact that many "are already doing it" seems to be some sort of twisted "defense" for not only legalizing or supporting these acts, but also as justification to marginalize and ridicule those who might disagree based on God's moral standards.


    As a student of logical discussion and debate, I feel it is necessary to point out the argumental fallacy being used here which, not surprisingly, is called "Overlooking Secondary Consequences." Those who use this line of faulty reasoning will often gloss over the studies that show that the very actions they promote have secondary and, often, unwanted or dangerous consequences; they, as tools of our enemy, just want us to focus on the temporary pleasure of the moment and to forget about what might result. Only the hardened heart will go forward into sin after hearing of dangerous consequences, so the enemy tries to get us to focus on the "here and now" and not the future, where payback is certain.


    Especially when it comes to spiritual matters and the things God has forbidden, we must see the wisdom in not giving in to fleshly desires simply because some "are going to do it anyway." Surely we must see that God will not be pleased! Yes, some will do that which is forbidden, but the laws God has given, even the prohibitive ones, are there for our good. Can you imagine standing before God, pleading with Him to not be so harsh on man because, when it comes to sin, "they are going to do it anyway"? Yet, that is the plea directed toward those who are trying to uphold God's laws! The fact is, when we surrender all restrictions and loose what God has not loosed because "they are going to do it anyway," then we are headed for anarchy and a life of godlessness.


    But let us also see that even we disciples are not immune to falling into this way of thinking, if we are not careful. On a personal level, it is sometimes the very reason why we enter into sin! If we happen to have trouble with a certain temptation, we might give in because we convince ourselves it is too difficult to resist and we are "going to do it anyway," which then leads us to other sins because we look back at our failure and surrender instead of fighting. We do not have to sin, though; we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Phil. 4:13) and we have been promised an answer for every temptation (1 Cor. 10:13)!


    On the level of our spiritual relationships with others, it may be that we see a brother or sister in sin and tell ourselves we don't want to get involved or convince ourselves they would never listen to us because "they are going to do it anyway." We don't stop to think that, yes, they may end up doing it, but if we truly care for their souls, we would do all we could to get them to stop it! It may be, too, that they disregard our pleas because they have convinced themselves they are just going to do it again and they cannot turn back, but let us do our best to convince them otherwise and to bring them back, because a soul is at stake here (Jas. 5:19,20)!


    And among local congregations, this line of reasoning has led many churches to become lax in their discipline and to no longer stand for the truth because they began reasoning that the erroneous practices were inevitable and, often, because some error had already crept in! Instead of standing firm on the word of God, they made decisions based on what pleased the most people and drew the largest crowds, and truth fell by the wayside. Friends and brethren, this should have never happened! Let me say this in the strongest way possible: It is reprehensible to argue that we must cease preaching and teaching against certain sinful behavior simply because someone is "going to do it anyway."


    Think about this: God created man, even though He knew man was going to sin. Aren't you glad He did not cancel plans for our creation because He knew, before we were made, that we would sin anyway? And Jesus came down from heaven to live as a lowly man, even though He knew some men were going to treat Him cruelly and murder Him by hanging Him on a cross. He came to save His people from their sins, but He died though He knew "they were going to do those things [reject Him] anyway."


    And for us, sin is not inevitable. We always have a choice to sin or not sin, depending on our desires (Jas. 1:13-15). Sometimes, that means making hard choices and sticking with it though others try to persuade us to simply give in, but one whose mind is set on the heavenly things and not the things of this earth (Col. 3:2) will not give in. Does God want you to be happy? Certainly, He does! But let us not profane His glory or self by seeking our 'happiness' in those things which are against His will and contrary to godly behavior. God wants us to be eternally happy and want us to look beyond the temporary things.


    When we were children, I doubt our parents would have given us a parachute if they heard we wanted to go jump off a cliff, reasoning that we best be "safe" because we were "going to do it anyway." They were smart enough to know that a line had to be drawn that could not be crossed even if others were "going to do it anyway." I am also certain that God will never approve of man's sinful activities because "they're going to do it anyway." God has drawn the line between righteousness and sin; what will you choose to do?


---Steven Harper

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