WHO IS TO BLAME?
by David Sisler
If it were possible for you to have complete immunity for your actions, would you accept it? If you could follow any lifestyle you desired, pursue any habit, perform any act, and never face the consequences of your action, would you do it?
As close as you are ever likely to come to seeing such a situation is South Carolina law.
South Carolina is schizophrenic. They have a state lottery, but they have outlawed cash payoffs on video poker games. What’s the difference? Buy a ticket and take your chances, or put in a quarter and play your cards. Maybe you’ll lose. Maybe you’ll win.
If you lose, better luck next time ... right? Not according to a state law which was tested and upheld in the South Carolina Supreme Court.
Back when video poker gambling was legal, Carol Ann Berkebile claimed to have played the games at one gasoline station and lost $4000. She filed suit under a law which allows a gambler to recover losses totaling more than $50. According to the court’s decision, Ms. Berkebile could recoup the four grand.
Now, that is a great deal!
Play all you wish. If you lose, they’ll have to give you your money back. Your loses won’t count. If you win, you’ll have time enough for counting when the dealing’s done.
Most people wish it was possible to live like hell and still go to heaven. If there is one concept we dislike, it is the idea of individual accountability.
If you are a smoker, every time you light up, you see large print, capital letters which declare: “Warning! The Surgeon General has determined that cigarette smoking is hazardous to your health.” Even with that warning in place for more than 30 years, people still smoke, and when they are diagnosed with lung cancer, they want to blame – and sue – the cigarette manufacturers.
As long as there have been taverns and motorized transportation there have been drunk drivers. Some states have laws which hold bartenders responsible for the actions of their patrons. And still more Americans die each year on our highways than died during all the years of the Vietnam war. Drinkers still think they can have one more for the road.
A Florida driver was sentenced to prison under the state’s habitual criminal act. He had more than 20 drunk driving arrests on his record, five on one day! The chances are, when he gets out, he can renew his driver’s license.
Who is accountable?
Maybe you are old enough to remember when comedian Flip Wilson said, “The devil made me do it.” Even if you are not, do you know that line is as old as the human race?
God placed our first parents, Adam and Eve, in a perfect setting and gave them only one rule to follow. Not ten commandments, just one rule – don’t eat fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Nothing else is restricted from you.
When God found Adam and Eve hiding in the garden in the cool of the day, they said, “We hid because we were naked.”
“Who told you you were naked?” God asked Adam. “Did you eat from the only forbidden tree in the garden?”
“The woman gave it to me,” Adam said.
Not to be undone, Eve replied, “The serpent told me to.”
God’s answer then is the same answer today. You are personally responsible for your actions.
If you smoke, you are responsible for your own lung cancer, and probably in some other lives, too. My mother never smoked a cigarette in her 75 years of life, and even so, emphysema, caused by second-hand smoke, was one of the contributing factors in her death.
If you drink alcohol and drive, you are responsible for the lives you may destroy.
I cannot image that the South Carolina law requiring refunds to gamblers will stay on the books – especially not since the State is now a gambling promoter. Regardless, there is no sure way to avoid the physical consequences of your actions. You are responsible.
There is one sure way to avoid eternal consequences. One man, God’s Son, said, “I will pay the eternal price for their sins.” And he did. Now it’s up to you.
Copyright 2004 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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