We hear all the time about the basic goodness of man. And to be sure, there is a lot of common grace in our world. People rallying to support a sick child in the community or search for a lost loved one. Strangers jumping into a river to pull a woman out of her car. Neighbors who let you borrow their tools. Friends who will do anything for each other.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that men can be as cruel as they are. But true unspeakable evil is also out there and it’s more prominent than we’d like to admit. I have a hard time imagining how someone could murder a child. I don’t want to believe that someone would look into those harmless little eyes and ruin them through unspeakable acts. Some of that is optimism, some of it is unwillingness to believe the worst, some of it is naiveté.
I’ve thought about this a lot lately when I hear stories on the news: a court worker who has alleged sexual contact with a 16-year old, a mother who drowns her children in a bathtub, a suicide bomber who blows apart families, the predators we see on Dateline.
It can make you feel dirty to think about some of these things, and it should. They’re not pleasant. But they’re out there whether we acknowledge them or not. There are sick perverts who will rape children. There are cold-blooded killers who don’t think twice about ending a life. There are religious fanatics who will stop at nothing to bring their particular brand of jihad to the rest of the world. There are truly depraved individuals who buy 3-year old boys to be camel jockeys and feed them saltwater and shock them to keep their weight down. There are people who will force unimaginably young girls to be sex slaves. They’ll blow up civilians in the name of God. They’ll break every one of society’s rules. These people are out there. They’re around the world, all over the country, in our state, in our town, maybe even next door.
Man is not good. As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, man is irreparably broken. We can’t fix ourselves. Left to our own devices, we’d all be as wicked as those we read about in the news.
But we haven’t been left to drown in our own depravity. There is one way of escape — the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. He exchanges his life and death for ours so that our mantle of sin is replaced by a robe of righteousness.
Without that, we’d be the depraved ones snuffing out people’s lives. With it, we have hope, hope that we need to share.