I have seen and experienced the dark side of my human nature. If you asked the average person if human beings were generally “good” people, I think many would say yes. What about you?
My parents had to train me as a child not to be so self-centered, which came naturally to me. My language and motives were focused: “Me, me, my, mine,” and “I” were default positions. My parents intensified their efforts to help me realize the universe did not revolve around me.
Mom and dad did not give in to my tantrums, or let me get away with using “kid-power” tactics on my younger brothers and sister. Pushing them around was met with correct, appropriate, and consistent discipline. My parents had to play two-on-four with diligence and teamwork against 4 kids. Children need to learn how to play nice, use their manners, and control their base instincts.
I benefitted from growing up in a time when two parent families were common, and sacred and secular views about parents using discipline were clear and supported. Parents, teachers, coaches, clergy, recreation leaders, and community leaders were on the same page. Children need loving discipline to “root out the bad tendencies” (or the dark side), learn to walk uprightly, and represent their families well once they left the home. We still had kids causing more trouble than they should, many stretching the limits of what was allowed, and a few mavericks who really raised a ruckus at times. But they reaped what they sowed. And often learned their lessons.
When I became a parent, I saw the process my wife and I were in for in raising our two kids up close and personal. Not that our children were anything but normal, yet I could have written an article at times on “the dark side of children.” When it comes to developing people, younger children go through growing pains to become self-sufficient, mature people. Without parental loving discipline, kids can go off the track at times with dire results. Eighteen years is about what it takes to see the fruit of most parent’s effort to help their kids learn how to live life well. Actually, that is all parents have before kids move out and on to see what lesson(s) actually stick.
Read Mark 7:14-23.
In this passage, Jesus showed compassion to sinners and outcasts, yet He talked about evil in the human heart. All of us should call and thank our parents (again) for the job they did in raising us to know right from wrong and reinforce it until we got it.
In 1961, Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi engineer of the death camps of World War Two, was put on trial for war crimes. One of his former victims saw him in court, and stricken with emotion said, “This Eichmann was an ordinary man in many respects. I saw I was capable of what he did. I am exactly like him.” Like Eichmann, you and I are as capable of sin as he was.
The universal reality of human sin has infected all of us, and, it has a remedy. Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead to redeem us from the penalty and power of sin. Our dark side should not be rationalized away, but submitted to God for the redemption only He can provide.
Think theologically. Who are the people you know that need to hear the gospel news? What sinful attitude or action do you need to confess and repent of to experience His cleansing (1 John 1:9)? Believe it – Receive it – Live it (John 1:12). The gospel cures the dark side of the heart.
Love is a verb,
©2018 by Mike Olejarz