Years ago, there were allegations that the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, had taken indecent liberties with a young boy. I remember when this story came out and I remember how appalled the public was. Michael Jackson, even with all of his eccentricity, had become a household name due to the proliferation of his music. Eventually, the case was settle privately…but he would forever live with that accusation. Most of us didn’t seem to want to believe it was true…it was too shocking…too dark. Some years before that happened, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart had been caught with a prostitute…and I remember the shock that the public showed over the affair. It’s amazing to see how the public reacts to things of this nature…and very telling of something that we must all consider…When a public icon is caught in a scandal, the public is always outraged…and justifiably so…especially when it involves children. Recently, Subway spokesman, Jared Fogle was indicted for unspeakable acts against children. Bill Cosby admitted to doing awful things to women in his past. I was shocked…and I remember thinking about how unreal all of it sounded…because of the fact that these were high profile individuals…and in the case of Cosby, someone that we looked up to…who were apparently involved in some very dark things.
I bring these stories up because it’s important that we realize something. These men that I’ve mentioned have one thing in common. They’re are all part of a very large group in the world. This group is known for its hypocrisy…its evil…its perversion…its inhumanity. This is positively one of the most disturbing groups in all of creation. The things they have done over time are nearly unspeakable and the things they are capable of seem to know no boundaries…
What is the name of the group….?
It’s much more well-known that you would think. It’s a group called humanity. I don’t mean to say that these individuals weren’t guilty or wrong or anything like that. I also don’t mean to minimize their guilt or the atrocity of their offenses. The reason I bring this up is to point out something which we all need to be very wary of. All of us…every last human being…has “the hidden” parts of our heart…and no one knows what lurks deep down within us. We are always shocked and amazed when someone is accused or caught in a heinous act…because we have a hard time believing in the darkness of the human heart. This is also where we get into trouble…by not considering that we are all capable of very dark, very awful things…we lay ourselves wide open to crossing over into the darkest of realms…and then we wonder…”how did I get here?”
I believe full well that the human being, given the right or wrong set of circumstances and/or timing, is capable of anything. Anyone is capable of anything…and we are in grave danger the moment that we convince ourselves that we are above one particular transgression or another. It’s important for us to always be aware of what is hidden in our hearts and minds…realize the damaging effects it can have on us and everyone around us…and allow it to be one of the guardrails in our lives.
Humanity is capable of all sorts of unspeakable evil. The end of the opening chapter of Paul’s letter to the Church at Rome listed a series of sinful behaviors and attitudes. Among them was, “inventors of evil,” which I can only surmise was a way of saying that just when we think mankind can’t get any worse…give us a minute…we will not fail to impress.
All of us have hidden deep within us the most sinful of thoughts…the capacity for the most disturbing kinds of evil…and we must all face the fact that none of us is above anything.
When we do this…when we face the reality of the darkness of which we are capable…something else will happen as well. Even though we may carry through on some form of punishment for certain offenses…if we are truly aware of our own human nature and our own sinful drives and thoughts…we will find our way to compassion for those that find themselves in terrible circumstances. They may not care and they may not be at all remorseful…but we should always see them in the same way we see ourselves: people made in the Image of God that have wandered far off of the course that God had purposed for us. This doesn’t mean they won’t face consequences…but it should mean that our attitude towards them is different.
Then…ironically…in the midst of the effects of inhumanity…we find our way back to true humanity.
*Image taken from: http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y47/Missandra/Philly/IMAG0007.jpg