The Sinful Mind

(As we are in the U.K. I hope you enjoy these perspectives from The True Light, a bi-monthly paper published during our work with the Old St. congregation in London from 1990-1994).

Slow roasting on a spit.  Cutting out the tongue.  Ripping out the fingernails.  Flaying and disemboweling while alive.  These were some of the macabre scenes of torture depicted in the London Dungeon, a museum which illustrates man’s inhumanity to man.  As I accompanied a friend through this wretchedness, one thought kept recurring:  “How could someone do such a thing to another human being?”

The very struggle to comprehend deviant behavior suggests that Christians think, feel, and act upon radically different standards than the rest of the world.  True, Christians occasionally fail to live according to their convictions, but they do acknowledge an absolute moral standard and make an ongoing effort to adhere to it.

Consider the characteristics of the sinful mind in Eph 4:17-19.  Paul says that Gentiles walk “in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened” (4:17-18).  This is so because they are “alienated from the life of God” and therefore ignorant of the deeper principles of man’s existence (4:18).  God is the only source of knowledge and understanding, and to forsake Him is to forsake a true understanding of things.

Further, the sinful mind grows out of a hardened or calloused heart (4:18) which becomes numb or “past feeling” (4:19a).  Natural inhibition against sin is removed and those so affected “have given themselves over to licentiousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (4:19b).  No sense of decency, sympathy or human dignity will deter those devoted to evil.

Man is capable of anything when under the dominion of Satan.  When a particularly shocking and heinous crime is committed, men rush to the psychological experts to explain how such behavior can occur in a “civilized” society.  Every reason is given except the correct one:  pure sin, chosen by the individual and encouraged by the devil.

The next time the ugliness of life moves you to ask, “How could one person do that to another?” be glad that you cannot understand.  The world does not know God.  You do.  Rejoice and be thankful in that knowledge.