Crime and Sin

IE302-040More on the Root causes of Crime

What is the source of crime and violence? How did crime begin, and why is it perpetuated from generation to generation? Why, after centuries of trying, has mankind been unable to find a solution to the scourge of crime?

Modern experts have not given us the answers. For the solutions to crime and violence, we have to turn to God’s word, the bible specifically reveals the true causes.

Psychologists and sociologists have many rationalizations for why society is plagued with crime. Many place the blame on poverty, dysfunctional families, poor parenting, lack of education, etc.. All these factors contribute to the likelihood of criminal activity, they are not the fundamental cause.

Though sometimes committed out of irrational frustration, crime is a personal choice. None of the above factors ever forced a person into criminal activity. We all have freedom to weigh courses of actions, to consider the consequences, to make and follow through on decisions. We are not forced to make decisions based on our social or family background.

The bible explains the origins of crime as the bitter fruit of our own greed and selfishness. None of us is completely faultless or innocent, regardless of how we might view ourselves. James describes the process that leads to lawbreaking: “Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start?” asks James. “Is it not precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something and you lack it; so you kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy, so you fight to get your way by force . .” (James 4:1-2)

Don’t disagree with this description of our motives yet, ask yourself a few questions first:

How often have you been tempted to take something that wasn’t yours?

How many times have you shaded the truth to your advantage?

How often have you been so frustrated, disgusted or angry at another person that you wished that person didn’t exist?

How often have you been tempted to cheat on your partner with someone else, or to imagine such a relationship through pornography and fantasy?

Those evil desires are there within us craving to be satisfied. And too often we don’t exercise the character and self-control to keep our greed and selfishness in check. We give in. Sometimes we’re caught and suffer the consequences; other times we think we get away with it. Our primary motivation seems to be “gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts” (Ephesians 2:3 NIV).

We are being deceived into thinking that the way to happiness lies in continually seeking self-satisfaction and gratification. We fail to recognize that this very thing is what ultimately leads to crime and untold human suffering! Jesus Christ commissioned Paul to go and open people’s eyes to the truth “in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God . . .” (Acts 26:18).

Societies lock criminals behind bars for stealing from and killing their fellow man, but are those convicted of crimes against humanity the only ones behind bars, the only ones imprisoned? Sadly, no. The rest of us must lock our doors and windows at night. The rest of us are the ones who look over our shoulder to see whether we’re in danger of being mugged. The rest of us are the ones who must watch our children carefully, lest they be kidnapped, molested or murdered. The rest of us are the ones who live in uneasiness about our personal safety. We are the ones who share in the high cost of crime through taxes to pay for law enforcement, the judicial system, the burgeoning prisons and jails. Through insurance we all pay the cost of vandalism and the millions of burglaries, arsons and stolen cars. Through higher prices, everyone pays the price for shoplifting, embezzlement and other employee theft.

In our modern society we are all “imprisoned”—if not in our homes, certainly in our minds. We fear for our lives when drugs, guns and violence are everywhere. We all pay a heavy price for the spiritual root cause of crime.

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