There are some people that may make you wonder if they were just born to be bad. Whether it is their personality or circumstances that have caused them to act the way they do, it seems like they have a track record of getting into trouble. I understand the born to be bad syndrome because I am one of those people. Several people that have known me well have nicknamed me “trouble” and even I have thought at times that trouble should be my middle name.
One of my all-time favorite movies is “The Man from Snowy River.” Although the movie is about a young Australian man coming of age, one of the main characters is Jessica, the daughter of a widowed rancher. Having been raised without a mother, Jess is a little too strong willed for her father and in one scene, she runs away because he tells her he is going to send her away to college. An issue that is subtly dealt with in the movie is Jess’ parentage. Her father Harrison believes she may be the daughter of his brother Spur because they were both in love with Jess’ mother and competed for the right to marry her. The question that is never really answered is where did Jess’ wild nature come from? Was it a result of losing her mother, the influence of her strong willed father, or was she designed that way to handle the rugged lifestyle she experienced?
Abimelech, the son and successor of Gideon seems to fit into the category of a man that was born to be bad. He was born by a female slave of Gideon’s from Shechem, the town where Jacob’s daughter was raped. It appears that Abimelech lived with his mother in Shechem and was well known by the people there. He used this to his advantage by getting the people of Shechem to make him their king. Abimelech killed all of Gideon’s other sons except one, Jotham. Jotham confronted Abimelech and put a curse on him that was eventually applied to all the men of Shechem.
It says in Judges 9:56 “Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren.” The word translated wickedness, ra‘ (rah) means bad (7451). It is derived from the word ra‘a‘ (rah – ah´) which means to spoil, literally by breaking into pieces or figuratively to make or be good for nothing (7489). So there seems to be a case for Abimelech having gone bad rather than being born that way. The interesting thing about this verse is that it says God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech. The word rendered, shûwb (shoob) means movement back to the point of departure, but it also refers to “the process called conversion or turning to God” (7725).
When my life got to the point where I could no longer stand it, things were so bad I was miserable and wanted to end my life, I turned to God. I don’t think I was born bad even though I know I had a sin nature from the start. Over time, I was affected by my circumstances and the people around me and learned that being bad was a way for me to even the score. Thank God I was converted and was brought back to the point of my departure.