The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5
That text, coming to us from before the flood, shares the Lord's most unflattering opinion concerning humankind. There are those who would say that over the last few thousand years we have come a long way. That may be true for some, but it certainly isn't true for all. There still are a fair number of people who have a long way to go.
If you doubt me, go to Monroe, Michigan.
There you will meet a fourth-grader by the name of Maya Leachman. She has a grandfather who has Alzheimer's. Because she wishes to do something to help her beloved grandfather, for the last three years she has sold lemonade. All her profits go to find a cure for that dread disease.
Knowing Leachman's cause was good, the neighbors and friends of Monroe sent some serious money her way. On a Sunday afternoon in September, she managed to bank $1,511.88.
It should have been more.
It should have been $50 more. And if you're wondering why the discrepancy, that's easy to explain: she was ripped off. No, nobody held her up at gunpoint and nobody took some cash from the till while her back was turned. She lost $50 because a man on a bike came tooling up and asked her to break a $50 bill.
Maya didn't think a thing of it until later when she discovered the man's money wasn't real.
The fellow had bilked a fourth-grader out of money she had raised to help cure her ailing grandpa. How low can a person go? Now you could make a case and say, "I wouldn't do something like that, and my friends and family wouldn't do that either."
Well, I should hope so.
But just because we wouldn't steal money from a fourth-grader, doesn't make us pure as the driven snow, does it?
The Lord knows, no matter how hard we work at being good, we are still sinners. It's part of the human fabric. Every day, in thought, word and action, we do that which is unacceptable to the Lord. We break His Commandments, and there's no way for us to correct our inborn sinful natures.
This is why we need a Savior.
Because God still loves His wayward children He sent His Son into this world to be our Substitute. Jesus took our place and resisted temptation. He took our place and fulfilled the Law. He took our place by carrying our sins and dying our death.
Now those who are brought to faith enjoy the forgiveness that was won for them at such a high cost. True, they may not need forgiveness for giving counterfeit money to a fourth-grader, but there are plenty of other sins that call for the Lord's gracious attention.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, someone else's sin might not be mine, but don't let me feel too superior. I have plenty of transgressions that can only be removed by the Redeemer. I give thanks for His work and offer up this prayer in His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries