When My Friends Made Me Eat Ice Cream

When My Friends Made Me Eat Ice Cream

So they made their father drink wine that night. Genesis 19:33

My wife and I went out to dinner with friends the other night. It was a good time, and I made healthy choices at the restaurant. When we were done though, someone (it may have been me) suggested that we go across the street for ice cream. All my good intentions went out the window as I ordered the royal fluffernutter blizzard – not the mini size. It was delicious, but afterwards, I felt nothing but regret for those 750 calories of fat and sugar that I simply didn’t need. What was I supposed to do? We were out with friends. It would have been rude not to participate. I didn’t actually blame our friends for the ice cream, but I did blame the circumstances. Not my fault! The truth though, is that I could have abstained from that fluffernutter blizzard. Or I could have not suggested ice cream in the first place. When I stepped on the scale the next morning, I had no one to blame but myself for that extra weight. I did this.

It’s amusing when it comes to ice cream, but many of us do this with other self-defeating emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. When enraged, we blame the one who made us angry. When we treat people badly, we accuse them of deserving it. When we cheat on our taxes, we fault the government for its waste. When we drink alcohol, we blame our coworkers, bosses, or families. The truth though, is that no one can make us do anything – unless we allow them to do so.

So, I have some objection to today’s passage. In this bizarre story, Lot’s two daughters realized that their prospects for having offspring were poor, so they conspired to get their father drunk, have sex with him, and become impregnated by him. They made their father drink wine that night. I chafe at the idea here that Lot might be let off the hook for getting really drunk. The daughters certainly weren’t innocent, but they didn’t tie Lot down and force alcohol down his throat. Lot, it seems, was all too eager to get fall-down-drunk. Alcohol was offered and Lot drank willingly to the point of blackout.

Those around us will often be difficult, but they can’t make us commit evil, unless we allow them to do so. Our choices are our own. I wouldn’t be so angry if you weren’t so infuriating. Those around us though, aren’t responsible for our failures and self-destructive behaviors. We alone are responsible for our own words, thoughts, and actions. Others cannot control our minds, get us drunk, or make us act badly – unless we allow them to do so.

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