About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Escaping Corruption  


Democratic president, Bill Clinton, only admitted to his adultery and his lies after being trapped in a corner where both were exposed.  He had no alternative but to confess.  Republicans can't get too smug about Clinton 's corruption.  Two decades earlier, Republican president, Richard Nixon, was trapped in a similar corner of corruption.  Only then did he drop his denials and admit to his lies.  Larry Norman, often called the father of Christian rock music, addressed such human failures in his song entitled "Nothing Really Changes," recorded on his 1969 "Upon This Rock" album.  In part, the lyrics say this:


"Nothing really changes,
everything remains the same,
we are what we are until the day we die." 


I think the apostle Peter would agree with Larry Norman's assessment of humanity.  Peter viewed it as being a generational corruption that we need to be rescued from.  He put it this way in Acts 2:40. 


"Save [rescue] yourself from this corrupt generation."  


Surprisingly enough, sometimes our humanistic culture gets things right.  It was in 1973, in the midst of the Watergate scandal, that I learned of Gestalt Psychology.  I have no expertise when it comes to psychological theory, but this one thing I recall from Gestalt principles of psychology.  Our tendency is to blame others for our failures, which in turn destroys, or corrupts, the relationships with those we blame.  If we are ever to free ourselves from this form of corruption, we must take responsibility for our actions, admit to being in the wrong, drop our denials, and confess to our failures.  Putting the blame where it belongs is what the Bible calls repentance.  It's what Peter says is the first step of salvation (Acts 2:38).   


When it comes to human nature, our generation is no different from the one in which Peter lived.  "Nothing really changes," as Larry Norman sang.  We stand on the sidelines and watch the blame game being played out on the various fields of government, business, law, education, and religion.  We watch in disgust as we vehemently, but hypocritically, criticize and complain.  Our complaints are hypocritical because we fail to put the blame where it belongs.  Our culture is corrupt because you and I are corrupt.  The prophet Jeremiah said it this way.  Jeremiah 17:9 in the CSB's version of the Bible reads:    


"The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable ​ ​who can understand it?"


Larry Norman, the apostle Peter, and the prophet Jeremiah, and to a degree, Gestalt Psychology, have all diagnosed the human condition correctly.  It is corrupt at the core.  It sounds depressing, but if we take Peter's admonition to repent, which includes taking personal responsibility for our behaviour, we will begin to experience healthy human relationships that in turn lessen the hold corruption has on our lives.  


Post Scrip

If you are as old as I am, you may recall Joe South's 1968 hit song entitled "Games People Play."  He diagnosed our problem correctly but left us with no remedy.   You can listen to it on YouTube.

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