Man’s Inhumanity to Man

It started in the Garden of Eden when sin entered the world. Man made his choice to follow the desires of his own heart and reject that unique relationship with God. At that moment, when Adam and Eve rejected God, ignorance, hate and inhumanity entered the world.

Little did Adam and Eve realise that humanity would forever yearn to fill that God-shaped hole with something, anything. Humanity has been filling that pain of separation from God with a variety of sins served up on a platter of iniquity since leaving the Garden of Eden. As we entertain sin it grows within us to produce death. The Bible describes this eloquently in James,

“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:13-15

The process here is that God does not tempt us but rather since we have our own sinful desires, when temptation is presented to us we embrace it. We entertain it and play with it not realising that the longer we do this we have an increasing desire to want more of this sin. Sin ultimately produces death, death of our consciences, death of our moral fibre and death of the collective sense of outrage when atrocities play out on our TV screens.

We all entertain sin in one form or another and we are all tempted. The extremes of people allowing sin to take root in their lives and producing fruit in the form of violence has been all too readily played out recently. Whether it has been the Nice lorry killer Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, Anders Behring Breivik killing innocent people in Norway or Khalid Masood ramming through innocent civilians on Westminster Bridge. They all allowed wrong thinking to influence their lives to such an extent that they ended up blinded by their hatred of their fellow Man. Mohamed and Khalid were inspired and influenced by the Islamic clerics and propaganda shotgun blasted throughout the internet from the so-called Islamic State; and Anders from fascist ideology.

However let us not fool ourselves by thinking that none of us are incapable of such violence. Anders Breivik and the Aurora cinema killer James Holmes were gamers. Anders used gaming to train for his well planned and executed attacks and James liked to play Diablo III and World of Warcraft. Gaming is considered to be a normal acceptable pastime. However, the choice of games you play for relaxation can clearly have an effect on your psychological/spiritual well-being. The brutality of killing someone in the FPS (First Person Shooter) games is for the majority of gamers something that is completely detached from reality but for others becomes obsessional and grows into a desire to live out the fantasies played in the virtual world.

The point here is that we can be tempted by these games and allow them to feed our love of violence and change our thinking that what we experience in the virtual is acceptable in the physical. It says in Romans 12,

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

The World’s thinking is, by default, sinful. It is a cup over-flowing with everything that will tempt us and if we drink from that cup we find that the cup grows to consume us and, like Alice in Wonderland, we find ourselves so far down the rabbit hole we don’t know how to get out. We all have the capacity to be an Anders Brevik, James Holmes or Khalid Masood. They started out in life full of promise and innocence but somewhere along the way they made choices that led them ultimately to their bloody acts of violence. We, like them, make choices every day. If we try to live and do in our own strength we risk becoming like them. However, Christ Jesus died for all of our wrong choices and sinful lives so that we can be set free from the clutches of iniquity and sin. Christ Jesus died for you and me so that we do not have to spend this life struggling with sinful thoughts and succumbing to temptation but rather,

“…submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

This is not to say that we will not succumb to temptation nor will we sin again but since we have Christ Jesus as our advocate we can turn from our sins (repent) and ask God to change us through the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

So how practically can we be changed and resist the devil?

  1. Pray at all times without ceasing. Daniel prayed three times a day but Paul said that we should,

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

A thankful heart that is in constant communication with God is changed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  1. As I made the point above,

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

We can only be changed in our thinking by reading, studying and immersing ourselves in the scriptures daily allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our thinking.

  1. Avoiding things that seek to tempt us,

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8

This doesn’t just mean embracing good things but shunning those things that seek to entice us and trap us. We need to not only avoid media (films, magazines, music, websites, etc) that are questionable and not honouring to God but we need to flee (here also) all evil and not entertain it.

If we put into practice God’s antidote to the world’s sickness, then we will be able to truly stand and resist the devil.