A few years ago one of my fellow-ministers with the church in Uberlândia, Brazil told me about how he had worked before at a hotel. If I remember correctly, he manned the front desk during the late night shift. He talked about how amazing it was that as soon as the sun went down, the world changed. Men who were respectable businessmen became drag queens and drugs and general criminality came to the surface. Society’s alter-ego came out to play in the darkness.
Working at AT&T Mobility servicing major business and government accounts, I rarely have to talk to anyone except telecommunications managers with companies. However, just after Christmas 2006 many in my department were required to take calls from regular consumers for a couple of weeks because the company had sold more cell phones than expected over the holiday and call volumes were ridiculously high. What and eye-opener! After a couple of weeks of hearing people come on the line screaming, swearing and more often than not making no sense whatsoever, I lost most of what respect I had left for humanity. Most of us heard things we’d rather forget. One co-worker took a call that bothered her for days. Someone had an issue, called to complain, and while they were on the line someone else came on the line sounding very incoherent and seemingly asking for help. The person, whether adult or child, was apparently removed from the line and the caller hastily summed up the discussion. My co-worker said she felt as though she should have called authorities or something, but didn’t know what she’d report.
Without the work of God, the stupidity and corruption of our species exceeds all bounds and would be beyond hope. Truly, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:23-26 ESV).”
Humanity is deeply flawed and the corruption of our kind is deep. It is so deep, in fact, that this forms one more argument in favor of placing consistent limits on government and police force. The further down one searches in the vast underbelly of society, the more evil you will find. If a government had free rein to stamp out every violation, every infraction and every act of immorality, perversion or greed, any trace of freedom would soon be removed and the police force used would itself become the greatest active evil. Coercion simply won’t solve the problem. Taken too far, it is the problem. Just look at Myanmar. After all, what is government and the police force? Nothing other than a group or groups of people calling the shots and implementing rules. If this is so, and if humanity has sinned and fallen short, then any government we have and any police force put to work will need to be closely monitored and tightly controlled.