Original Sin

My wife works at a children’s hospital, and could fill many volumes with the stories she has to tell. Fortunately for me, she does not share them too often, or I would probably drown in despair.

Some nights the burden is quite heavy, and tonight she did unload a few stories on me. She was exposed to two patients today who were victims – seemingly unintended – of gun violence. Gangs were believed to be involved in both instances.

The first was a one year old, who was sleeping with her mother when a bullet ripped through their house at 1am. It pierced the child’s head and was embedded in the mother’s leg. Somehow, the child has survived, and in spite of losing one of her eyes, she shows many signs of good condition and potential for recovery.

Marcy went on to say that many people were pressing to visit the girl, whose mother was with her. The mother suggested that she knew the shooter, but would not say who it was. Marcy worried that one of these guests might want to harm the mother because of her knowledge, which made the day that much more tense.

At length, while telling this story and others, my wife grew exasperated. She said, “There is something wrong with the world when you can’t even be safe sleeping in your own home.” She had other things to say, but they may be safely summed up in this one lamentation.

I had a thought then, which I will share now. The preface I want to offer is that I have been truly blessed with an experience of security through my life, and so I cannot fully appreciate this thought, though it was mine to speak.

“I think now we have come to a real understanding of Original Sin. Original Sin is not a distant theological idea; it is a gunshot wound to the head when you’re sleeping next to your mother.”

And that’s the problem politics can’t fix, nor can any NGO, neither can any social structure begin to address. You will never annihilate the fact that humans experience conflict, and that we have designed and built weapons in order to have our way in those conflicts. Indeed, a great effort is required just to keep some semblance of order, and that is no small thing. After all, at least one person has experienced a life of relative security.

If you want to say that Christians are pie-in-the-sky types, you are not grasping the doctrine of Original Sin, and you fail to appreciate the true significance that we attach to the title of Savior. Or, if you do grasp the former, you begin to understand the incredible claims of our Founder.

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