Monday, 8 August 2011

When restraint is removed

The Internet tells me about riots in London, UK. One thing we are learning is that there was a lot of opportunistic looting. Not people who were angry, or who had a cause - but people who found that the authorities were over-stretched, and took advantage. People who wanted something for nothing. Normally they wouldn't steal - but when the threat of arrest and imprisonment was gone, they were more than willing.

We had the same in Kenya after the 2007 elections. Law and order broke down. Some people rioted for political reasons - but many more went looting because they could get away with it.

That's the Christian doctrine of original sin. Why is the world not more evil than it is? Because God restrains, via law and order. Though law and order is often corrupt and faulty, yet it still has real, beneficial effects. Once the restraint is temporarily removed, we get a glimpse behind the curtains. We see what the human heart is like, once it gets the opportunity. I read in one article that at one point "all hell broke loose". The writer didn't mean anything particularly Christian, but that's getting nearer to the point - once the fear of punishment is gone, the proto-hell in the human heart goes rampaging.

That's why politics, development and education are not the real solution to the world's problems, and the gospel is. Jesus Christ changes the heart.

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