Lent 1 :: The devil made me do it!

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Remember Geraldine? She was comedian Flip Wilson’s alter ego back in the 60s and 70s. Every time “she” did something she shouldn’t have done, she’d exclaim, “The devil made me do it!”

I’m not sure, of course, but I wonder if Flip read Genesis? Especially that wonderful scene when God catches Adam and Eve after they’ve eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God asks if they’ve done what they shouldn’t have done. Adam complains: “She gave it to me and I ate. It’s not my fault!” Eve says: “Well, the serpent said it’d be okay. It’s not my fault!” I guess the devil was pretty busy in Eden that fateful day.

Responsibility. It’s not something any of us find easy to accept, unless it is responsibility for something good. But when something bad happens: “The devil made me do it, it’s not my fault!” How quick we are to place the blame for our mistakes — read “sin” — on others. It’s as if our egos refuse to admit that we could do anything wrong. Perhaps Lent is a time for some ego “cleansing.” Let us face up to the fact that we alone are responsible for our actions. Ask God for forgiveness when we have done something wrong and give God the praise when we have accomplished something good. Let’s quit acting like Geraldine.

Something to ponder:

What wrong has the “Geraldine” in you refused to accept responsibility for?

Link to RCL Lectionary for Lent 1

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