If Only I’d Known
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:19-20
A while back, I listened to an addict, in the midst of calamitous life destruction, declare that if he’d only known how bad things would get, he’d never have started using in the first place. If he’d only have known the lives he would destroy and if he’d only have known the horrible consequences he would face, he claimed he never would have taken that first hit.
I believe that he believed this, but I’m not sure I believed it. I remember thinking something similar in my own drug use. The problem though, was that I knew. I knew what I was doing was destructive. I knew how addictions end up. During my final relapse, I understood that if I continued, I’d lose my job and probably my marriage and career. I’d like to claim ignorance, but the only ignorance I experienced was due to self-deception. To justify my drug use, I told myself that I was different. I can get away with it. I’ll just use this one time and then I’ll stop . . . OK, maybe I’ll use two or three times and then quit. When it all fell apart, it was tempting to claim I didn’t know what would happen, but I was without excuse.
In today’s passage, Paul taught this principle. He said that God has revealed himself to us and that we’ve witnessed the evidence. We however, have chosen to follow ourselves, abandoning God. In the end, we may claim ignorance, but Paul taught that we are without excuse because God has created us to inherently know that we must follow him. We may have convinced ourselves otherwise – that we don’t know this – but Paul insists that in the end, there will be no excuses.
At times of personal failure, we’d often like to claim ignorance. If I’d only have known how this would end up . . . The truth though, is that we usually know right from wrong. We know we must follow God, not ourselves. God has revealed himself to us. He’s created us to need him. We know this and so, we are without excuse.