They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. Psalm 53:3
Although the Bible says all of us have fallen away and are corrupt, there are many people who feel that most folks are good at heart and will do good things, if given a chance.
Tell that to Carol.
What? You don't know Carol?
Then allow me to make an introduction. Carol is an Asian elephant who is with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Carol, as was the custom, was put up for the night with other animals from the show. The night we're talking about was a few weeks ago in the Tupelo, Mississippi, BancorpSouth Arena.
That night, around 2 a.m., Carol was asleep when a car drove up and some cruel, cold-hearted sadist, rolled down his window, stuck out his gun, and shot her. That's right. Carol was the victim of a drive-by shooting.
Now I've tried to figure out why somebody would do that. All kinds of ideas come to mind. Maybe the individual thought he had been a "great white hunter" in a previous incarnation. Maybe he was sighting in his guns and needed a really big target with which to begin. Maybe he was scared by an elephant when he was young and was trying to work through his fear. Maybe he didn't like the Disney movie, Dumbo.
Yes, I could come up with all kinds of reasons, but none of them made sense -- none of them except one suggested by Scripture: all people have fallen away, are corrupt, and they do no good. The meanness of an individual's heart is the only reason that truly explains why a coward would make a target of a tied-up, sleeping circus elephant.
Most people find such a cruel and defenseless action to be reprehensible. Indeed, it is reprehensible; but no one can say it is inhuman. Such senselessly cruel acts are incredibly human. As one of my friends used to say, "Ken, imagine the worst thing you can. Make that thing ten times worse and you can be sure there are people doing that thing; a lot of folks will be doing that thing."
Now I know you personally would never take a shot at an elephant. I wouldn't either.
But that doesn't mean you and I are off the hook. We're not. Remember what the text from above said: there is no exception, all of humanity has fallen away, all of us are corrupt. Now I don't know what sin comes to you most easily. I don't know the sin, but I know you do have one or more sins that are effortless and wonderfully appealing.
This is why all of us need the Savior; we need Jesus.
In the Person of the Redeemer, we have been given a Person who -- in spite of the intensity of our transgressions, in spite of the ease with which we embrace our wrongdoing -- loves us and sacrificed Himself to rescue us.
To those who have fallen away, Jesus extends a sincere and blood-bought invitation to return. To those who have hearts and lives that have been corrupted by sin, Jesus offers the forgiveness He alone can extend. Indeed, there is no person whose sins are so large, so heinous that they cannot be forgiven by the Redeemer.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord for sending a Savior who loved the unlovable; who loved us, I give thanks. Because of Him I am saved and have eternal life. May I, in thanks, be the best I can be. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries