If You Knew Me, You Would Say Much Worse

The more I understand my sinful nature, the more I am living in reality.

Pick up a history book–any history book–and see how many times the oppressed, when given the opportunity, become the oppressors. Is it power that corrupts? Or is it possible that the corruption is already inside of us, just waiting for the right set of circumstances? That’s them, not me, we tell ourselves. But why? Why do we think we are any different?


“An ISIS-inspired terrorist plowed into a group of seven bicyclists in Tajikistan on July 29, killing four of them. Two of the four killed were Americans, Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, both 29, who had quit their jobs to embark on a biking tour of the world in July of 2017. Friends told the media that the couple wanted to meet new people and see new places, and that they had a strong belief in the goodness of human nature. ‘People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil,’ Austin wrote. ‘I don’t buy it.’ He called evil ‘a make-believe concept.'”

(WORLD Magazine, September 1, 2018)

Jay and Lauren weren’t alone in this belief. In fact, the recent Ligonier Ministry’s survey found that over 50% of self-proclaimed evangelicals believe “Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.”

If the oil light in your car goes on, you can cover it up with a piece of tape, but your engine will eventually explode. If the doctor says ‘cancer,’ it doesn’t really matter how fine you feel, you can only ignore it for so long.

And you can fervently believe that people are ‘good by nature,’ but the terrorists will still be plowing over bicyclists.

We live in a world where I have to make five-year-olds practice hiding in a closet in case someone wants to shoot them at school. And then I have to turn right around and do scheduling gymnastics so that one of those same five-year-olds isn’t left alone in a room with an adult during her piano lesson. The closet seems safe, until it’s not.

I’d like to divide the world into heroes and villains, with me as a hero, of course. I’d like to think that I would run into the burning building or offer to scuba dive (if I knew how to scuba dive) into the caves to save the young boys. It’s true there is something in human nature that rises to the occasion when the world needs a hero. Except, we’re kind of confused on what a hero is. A lot of Americans thought the guys who dropped bombs on Japan were heroes, but the Japanese thought otherwise. For that matter, a lot of people thought those guys who flew planes into buildings were pretty heroic as well.

Apparently the definition of heroism is pretty murky.

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