Speaker: Jerry Cisar
Why do people do bad things? During my life, the blame-pendulum in pop-psychology has been swinging between the two primary options: Nature and Nurture.
Nature: It’s in your genes.
Why do you do bad things? This answer says you inherited this tendency from your parents. It is genetic. The implication is often that you can’t help it. The scriptures do not deny that we inherit much that causes us to do wrong from our parents.
Nurture: It’s in your environment.
The other tactic for identifying the culprit is to blame these bad things on what has been done to you—what you have experienced. This can be either the lack of something, such as proper training, or the presence of something, such as abuse, or a serious illness and how that has effected you.
Once again the Scriptures recognize the importance of the right environment or nurture. Just one example: Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart. (Proverbs 22:6)
A Third Cause
However, the Scriptures, and certainly the book of Proverbs has a lot to say about a third determining factor in our behavior—whether it will be wicked or good. In fact, it is this third factor that is the primary subject of the book of Proverbs.
The son has been raised. The Hebrew father is quite aware that his son has been infected with that genetic trait, that tendency to rebel from Adam (nature). He was brought up in a home in which he was trained in the way he should go (nurture).
The young man now leaving dad and mom, beginning his own life, must choose Wisdom. He must pay attention to Wisdom. And he must not listen to the wicked and their enticements. This choice will ultimately determine whether he is one of the wicked, or one of the wise. And there is a key ingredient we must have to obtain Wisdom.