My mom always taught me to ask why. She taught me to never just accept anything until I had read it or looked into it myself, not from pastors, not from teachers, not from anyone. Indeed, I have often reflected on I Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV) which says, “Test everything”, and I have done just that in my own life. I test everything. I ask questions and think. I examine what is going on in the present asking questions of the past and reviewing what is known in God’s Word. The following is a narrative of what I have determined as a result.
The problem with humankind is that the nature of man has not changed since the Fall of Adam. Sin is still an ever-present force in how a person thinks and how a person behaves. Man is wicked, and the heart of man not to be trusted (cf. Jeremiah 17:9). All have sinned (cf. Romans 3:23), and there are none that seek God (cf. Romans 3:11). Not until one has been regenerated by faith in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross will this change (cf. Ephesians 2:8-9).
Another problem with humankind is that people are not scholars of human history. They do not learn from what has happened before. They do not look into the past for insight into today. History is rich with wisdom if only we would look into it. However, most people are “bored” with history and do not think that it is relevant to their own lives. As a result, they do not realize that history does indeed tend to repeat itself.
So it is no surprise to me that many people do not ask questions. They tend to blindly trust their fellow man, people who have gotten themselves into some type of leadership or positioned themselves as an expert. Those leaders and experts tell people to jump. The people respond, “How high?”, never realizing they’ve been told to jump of a cliff. They just jump often to their own demise.
You see, people are power hungry. You know it; I know it. We have evidence of this all around us. Being power hungry is part of our sin nature, and it remains unchecked until we are regenerated through Christ. Even after coming to Christ, people still struggle with power and control. We want to be the boss of our lives, and we want other people to do what we think they should. It is a daily battle which some might simply call selfishness. For any human on the face of this earth to say they do not struggle with wanting some power and control in their lives would be a lie. We are all selfish. It is a sin that we must kill daily.
I can tell you that I have often observed that people in authority can be particularly power hungry to the point of almost seeming consumed by it. They may not have started out that way at first. They may have started out with the best of intentions, but give them a little taste of power over other people, and bam! The maintenance of that power becomes a commanding force! Famous historian, Lord Acton, wrote in a letter in 1887, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” How true that is still today!
Even right now the general populace believes that if a leader or government official tells you to do something, this official is doing it for the good of the people. I challenge the populace to look back through history. How often have leaders and governments and people in authority done things for the right reasons? What if entire people groups could come back from the grave to provide insight? Ask the Jews under Pharaoh, most of the kings of Israel, and under Hitler. As the early Christians under the Roman government. Ask the Cubans under Castro. Ask the Russians and Chinese under basically every government leader they have had. Ask the Europeans under centuries of monarchs. Ask the Africans under all the different types of regimes they have been under. Ask the children that worked 14 hours days during the Industrial Revolution. Ask the slaves on the cotton plantations. I am most certain you can immediately think of other oppressed peoples throughout history. You do not have to look far back into history at all to discover that there are many bad people who have done bad things to others for nefarious reasons including power and control.
Just looking at the here and now, not thinking about the nature of man since the Fall and the history of this sinful world, you may think that there is no way a person in leadership would take drastic measures to gain and maintain power and control. However, the nature of man and the patterns of history suggest otherwise. You may think that so-called experts have your best interests at heart. However, you have underestimated the power and draw of money and power and prestige and being looked at as an authority. You have underestimated the pull of the sin nature. Ultimately, you have underestimated the intent of the principalities and powers of this world (cf. Ephesians 6) in the war for your soul and for supremacy.
What has been will be again because most people are willing to blindly jump off the cliff without questioning why.