Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Grace Abounding

Who can deny something so familiar to human experience as evil when one hears like this one, in which an Alabama dad threw 4 kids into a river after an argument with his wife? We dissect and diagnose sickness in these cases, and not sin. In extreme cases we pardon a killer on the grounds of mental instability- the infamous insanity plea. And in some cases, pardon is the only realistic response to a condition as terrible as that. Shouldn't it make one wonder, that with the evidence of so much evil in human beings and as those more honest will say, in themselves, the claims of Jesus Christ make sense?

How much does it take to shock us into believing that evil exists, and that good education, upbringing, normal childhood, prosperity and health have never proven to be antidotes to it? If evil is only sickness and not sin, then shouldn't our legal system be redefined to pardon one and all? Insanity is not the only sickness in such a case- jealousies, arrogance, sexual perversion and other sinful behaviour could all be attributed to sickness that could be (we hope) cured with education and counseling.

Atheists point to the evil abounding in this world in the form of natural disasters, wars (motivated by religion or irreligion not withstanding) and social evils such as hunger, poverty, the caste system and bigotry as if they were evidence of God's inexistence or absence from the course of our lives. On the contrary, when one hears incidents like this one, don't they stir our hearts to know that we too have been prompted to less maleficent, but sinful enough, behaviours in the heat of the argument? Don't we perceive the stirrings of evil within us? Is there any more clear evidence to point us to the one who gives us forgiveness and a new life? Is there any other cure for this sin? No exile to a mountaintop or escapist meditation technique will help.

As the Scripture says, where sin abounded, grace abounded much more (from Romans 5:20). Who can wash away my sin? Nothing indeed, but the blood of Jesus.

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