Dangers and Delusion of Rationalization

…behold, you have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23

When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they . . . made plans to kill him. . . . [But] Judah said to the others, “What can we gain by killing our brother? That would just give us a guilty conscience. Let’s sell Joseph to those Ishmaelite traders. Let’s not be responsible for his death; after all, he is our brother!” (Genesis 37:18, 26-27 NLT)

Initially, out of jealousy for their little brother, Joseph’s elder brothers proposed a plan to kill him. Then they altered their strategy of murdering him, rationalizing a lesser sin, to sell him into slavery to by-passing Ishmaelite traders. When you rationalize your plan to commit a lesser sin, it remains sin. At these times of temptation consider the consequences of your actions. When we justify in such times when deceived that a lesser evil is okay, we surrender our conscience from the guidance of the Holy Spirit to Satan. Rationalizing is, in many cases, delusion in disguise. We might think we are smart while acting in folly.

Begin to consider in what areas of life where you might be rationalizing sin that could lead to harmful consequences.

  • Have I joked crudely, even if it hurts another’s feelings?
  • Do I have a propensity for gluttony, drunkenness, sexual lust, anger, or slanderous gossip?
  • Have I ever told half-lies versus the whole truth?
  • Am I ethically divisive based on political leanings?
  • Do I advise others how to live even if it is against their conscience and thus viewed as sin?
  • Do I ever sidestep the plain truth of scripture that doesn’t fit my denominational group-think?
  • Have I ever rejected Christ as my Saviour?
  • Do I sway others  towards non-Christian ideologies unto ungodly living in this world’s culture?
  • Have I minimized Christ in the family to get along with my partner/spouse?
  • Have I often spoken of the faults of others without exhibiting forgiveness?

Let the Lord challenge you: Live such good lives among the unbeliever that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:12)