(Jesus said) "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander." Matthew 15:19
Every once in a while I hear someone say some silly thing like, "People are basically good, and that everyone, given a chance, will try to do the right thing."
When I hear such a false, foolish and obviously untrue statement I don't know whether to laugh or cry. As proof of our sinful and messed-up condition I submit two seemingly unrelated stories.
The first story comes out of a study made at Clemson University. The goal of the experiment was to find a way to help turtles make their way safely across a road. Using lifelike, albeit plastic turtles, the people conducting the study found the job might be harder than originally thought. It seems a fair number of motorists went out of their way to crush a turtle.
The second story comes out of the Bronx where a lady was arrested for claiming to be the aunt of one of the children murdered in Newtown, Connecticut. Then having lied about a relationship which didn't exist, the lady tried to solicit contributions, which would be used for her imaginary nephew's funeral.
Did you find the thread of similarity running through those narratives? If not, let me explain: both the motorists and the con-woman went out of their way to do something bad, when they could have gotten by doing nothing at all.
So, are we basically good?
Not when some people are willing to break the law just for the pleasure of feeling an animal crunch under the wheels of their car. Not when some people are willing to capitalize on the grief and tragedy of a mourning family, community and nation.
I am relatively confident none of our Daily Devotion readers are guilty of such things. Even so, we all have done things which were downright wrong, unnecessarily wrong.
This is why we sinners need a Savior.
We need a Savior who was willing to sacrifice Himself, so we might be rescued from sin and death ... and ourselves. We need a Savior who can resist temptation and say, "No!" to the devil. We need a Savior who is willing to take our place, live our life and die our death. We need the perfect Savior who will recycle imperfect souls and remake them into something acceptable to our Heavenly Father.
This is the simple lesson for today: sorry, sad, imperfect souls need the Savior.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, we sinners don't deserve a Savior, and when Jesus walked amongst us, people didn't want Him for their Savior. Even so, Jesus has come and, having completed the work of buying us back, He now invites us to take our place in the family of faith. May we do so with a glad heart and trusting mind. In Jesus' Name Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries