I was raised a Christian, but have always had issues with John 3:16. Because, like Jesus, I too am a child of God. As are you. The difference is that all men sin. And because we all sin, we all fall short of the glory of God. That’s basically the difference between us and Jesus. Because when we are born we are as pure as we will ever be. All we have to do is avoid sin – our whole lives. But we can’t. Because the earth is the devil’s playground. And the devil crawls under our skin. And so, ironically, the devil is is what makes us human – turning life into one constant struggle for balance between the concept of good that we’re born with, and the lure of evil that we grow into.
It’s been my experience that evil is far easier to obey – as it preys on our ego and tells us that we deserve whatever our heart desires. And that we should step on anyone who gets in our way to achieving that. That we should turn away from the destitute to focus on our own appetites. That money is more important than love. Sometimes it even tells us to do very bad things to others to get what it is we want. And we listen to these things and believe them and create advertising campaigns around them. Why? Because they’re tangible and they swirl around us constantly. Some of us go to church on Sundays as a way to try and balance it all out. Because deep down, below the fancy car and six-figure salary, we know that there’s something else. Something that we are born with. Yes, doing good is hard for such naive, fallible creatures who are so easily manipulated.
Meanwhile, unlike the devil, God is quiet. He has given us all a foundation of good, but as we grow older, we grow farther away from the pureness that we’re born with. It never disappears, however. It’s just not as sexy as evil. “Oh, but I’m not evil. Evil is the guy who kidnaps children and then chops them up and puts them in his stew. It’s ok for me to have have this iPhone made with slave labor.” Good doesn’t fight for your attention. It doesn’t promise you fame and fortune and a mansion painted with gold. Good is the opposite. It is humble. It waits quietly for you to remember. And throughout our lives we all have little epiphanies that try and get us to recall the truth. Because the candle of hope that we’re all born with never completely goes out. It just seems farther away in a dark room that grows larger each day we focus on the opposite.
Jim Mitchem is no angel. He’s just a child of God who has little epiphanies.