That’s Life

How can there be evil people?

I heard on TV last night, and see in the newspaper this morning, that a 15-year-old high school honor student, a guy who is just on the verge of becoming an Eagle Scout, murdered his entire family a few nights ago. I see in the newspaper that he has actually confessed to this so there is not much doubt left that he is indeed guilty.

Supposedly this was because he was angry, having engaged in an argument with his father. Thankfully I am not an attorney so I am free to say this certainly doesn’t sound like a crime of passion to me. This kid went methodically from his father, to his mother, to his younger brothers aged 13 and 11, who were asleep in their beds and shot them all dead one by one.

There’s something else cooking elsewhere that I have not heard many details on, except that apparently some maniac has gone into a woman’s clothing store and shot to death five people. Apparently there’s no rhyme or reason for this. And even if there was rhyme or reason how do you justify something like this? Well, kind of obviously I think, you really cannot justify it.You almost cannot even understand it. It’s almost beyond comprehension. We hear about something like this and if we were to dwell on it, it would probably drive us crazy.

Where is the logic in this? How in the world could this happen? At least in the case of this young man, well, a boy really, there’s no pattern in this boy’s life of having any trouble. On the surface he and his family seemed to have been doing everything correct. It’s just another example of the perfect “Leave it to The Beaver” type of family.

Everybody is happy and doing well and his mom is loving and kind. Oh, he and his brothers probably fought now and then as siblings are likely to do on a regular basis. But I bet if the bully down the street had dared to pick on his little brothers that he would’ve jumped to their defense in an instant.

There really is only one way that we can begin to make sense out of this. Pick up your Bible and turn to the book of Jeremiah chapter 17 where we read,”The heart is deceitfully wicked, who can know it?”

At our core, human beings are not fundamentally good. At our most basic we are wicked, evil, and there is not much good that can be said about mankind. In the United States of America, as well as many other areas that had a strong Christian foundation, it is all too easy to look at the surface and say that on the whole, as a society, we are fundamentally good. But this is only because of social pressures involved and evolved from living in what used to be a fundamentally Christian society.

The social pressure for most of us is to be good and do good things. This is more from our training and environment than it is from having a basically good heart. Call it Ultimate Peer Pressure. It is a reflection of the society in which we live, but a picture that is susceptible to many wrinkles once the true fundamental and evil heart burst through.

I do not believe that there is a more complex answer to the question of why do otherwise innocent people do evil things in their lives except that, well, that’s just the way it is. Remember that in most circumstances the best answer is the simplest answer. God’s answer to us is that we should not be surprised by these things in the least. Shocked and sickened, yes. But we should not be surprised because God has told us that the heart is deceitfully wicked. We are fundamentally evil to our core. And so the simplest answer is the best answer. Why do people do horrible things? It’s human nature. And that is why we need God to reach out to us in Jesus Christ. Otherwise there would be no hope for any of us.