Beware Human Sinfulness

The President Bush’s proposed immigration bill recently failed to pass the Senate. Many Senators, including Bush’s fellow Republicans, opposed the bill because they felt that there were too many loopholes that might be exploited. I feel sorry for those illegal immigrants, including some of our church members, who pinned their hopes for legal status on the passage of this bill.

If the Senators’ primary reason for opposing this bill was too many possible loopholes, I think they made a mistake. Every bill has room for exploitation. No matter how airtight lawmakers try to make a bill, people will always find loopholes to abuse, because human nature is evil.

When you make laws, you have to make them with a realistic understanding of sinful human nature. Otherwise, disaster ensues. A good example is Communism. Communists dreamed of a utopian society where everybody is equal. To realize this dream, they overthrew governments and made new laws and regulations. The result was a disaster; it only created new dictatorships and new elites in a different form. Their theories failed in reality because they failed to account for the fact that human nature is sinful and that human beings are fundamentally selfish.

This is why Capitalistic Democracy is superior – it recognizes human sinfulness and selfishness. The Democratic system encourages selfishness to increase productivity but attempts to limit it so that people don’t overstep their boundaries and infringe on other’s rights.

The checks and balances in the U.S. system of Democracy is based on a recognition of man’s sinfulness. The people who wrote the Constitution recognized the hunger for power in human nature and came up with a system where no one could hold all political power.

We Christians must also acknowledge human sinfulness. Of course, we are new creatures in Christ. We live according to this new nature as long as we are led by the Spirit. When we are not led by the Spirit, however, the old nature controls us. When we work with other Christians, we must prepare for times when they – and we – are not controlled by the Spirit. So when two Christians agree to work as business partners I always encourage them to write a formal contract because I see too many cases where good Christians become entirely different people when money is involved.

This is why I do not trust self-righteous people. They are so sure about being right that they neglect depending on the Holy Spirit. As a result, they often destroy themselves and the people around them. For the same reason, I also avoid working with people who are known for being “good”. I trust people who are aware of their sinfulness, because their awareness makes them depend on the Holy Spirit to do good work, thus making them less likely to fall.

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