In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs. – Luke 11:48 (Acts 7:51-52)
People of each generation arrogantly believe that if they were given the opportunity of their ancestors they wouldn’t have made their mistakes. They delude themselves – they would have. And I would have. We would have been racist because it is in all of our hearts to make ourselves “better” than others. We would have slaughtered those who did not support the new regime because we all “know best”. We would have exploited the weak because we are all consistently self-centered.
Yes, many judge the ideals, actions, attitudes, and beliefs of prior generations harshly. But we are truly the same as “they” are, whether “they” are the people from 700 years ago or our neighbors next door. The woman who goes out and gets pregnant because she is running out of time. I would do that. It is in my heart to get what I want. In fact, I find inside myself the same desires that lead (dare I say?) to every sin man has ever committed. The prostitute who sells herself. The man unsatisfied with women. Would I champion for the death of a good man who rejected me? I could. All that, resides in me. Push others down to stand higher. Oppress those who are weaker to feel power. Stand silently by when others do immoral things. I would do all that. Except For Jesus.
Maybe when St. Augustine wrote his confessions he was seeing not the sin itself but rather the capacity for sin that is irresolvable. It lurks in us. Lust. Greed. Hate. Name it. It is there. And worse, it is before a HOLY God (who can comprehend that?). Perfection. It’s all or nothing, no small sins – one sin makes you a sinner separated from Perfection by forever. We seek to please this God, but when I look inside, I know it is not possible. Praise God He has interposed to save all who will accept and follow Jesus as Savior and God!
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