Thursday, April 7, 2011

No One Is Immune

II Samuel chapter 11 is a tipping point in the life of David, like the fulcrum on a sea-saw.  Up until chapter 11, David's life has been slanted in one direction, but after chapter 11 everything is changed.  Chapter 11 is the David and Bathsheba story, and as I was reading though it this morning what struck me was the fact that no one is immune from doing truly stupid, dark things.

We tend to think that only evil people do evil things, that sin is a sign of corruption.  We can usually come up with multiple examples of where that is actually the case, but David wasn't evil and he wasn't corrupt.  David was an exemplary man who almost always turned away from selfish desires, even when his life was being threatened.  David took the hard road, the high road, the road less traveled by.  Of all the people to have an affair and then murder the woman's husband, David was not that guy.  And yet, of course, we know that that is exactly what he did.

"I could never do that," is a common thing we tell ourselves, especially when repulsed by another individual's behavior.  But if David, who most readers of the Bible would agree is a far better person than most of us are, can pull a 180 out of the blue, who are we to think that we're immune to such things?  There is a reason humility is so important to Christian living.  It keeps us on guard.  Any person, no matter what their upbringing or background, no matter what type of parents or education they had, can do terrible things if the situation presents itself, and that implies two things.

First, resist the temptation to demonize.  However different Christian traditions understand the Fall, the result is the same.  Humanity is broken.  We do terrible things, and many times simply because we fail to stop and think about what we're doing, or, as is also sometimes the case, we're in a place in life where we just don't care.  Give us the same situation during a different place in our life and the outcome may be very different.  So, people don't do evil because they are demonic.  People do evil because they are fallen, and that is a universal trait.

Second, we all need to accept that even if we're "good" people, we are all capable of causing great harm to ourselves and others.  We all need a good dose of humility.  We also need to stop rationalizing our own sins because, well, at least we didn't kill Uriah.  Slandering a person behind their back and costing them a job can effect a family's livelihood just as much as putting a man on the front lines of battle.  Once we decide, "I want it my way first, and I don't care who I hurt to get it," the rest is just details.

No one is immune.  No one is safe.  No one can sit back and assume that they've reached a point where they can do no wrong.  If you find yourself there, don't be surprised with a prophet Nathan comes knocking on your door.

Stopping point: II Samuel 12

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