Jacob last night asked, “Why do people turn bad?”
I didn’t have anything profound to reply but was gratified he asked it. Yet the condition of our world that leads Jacob to ask the question is depressing. Are people born good or bad? And if good, what makes our hearts and actions go sour? An age-old question that I don’t want to answer for certain either way [check out Augustine v. Pelagius or Calvin v. Armenius]. What I want to reflect on this morning is the innocence of a pure heart that wonders, “Why do people not want to be good?”
Jacob went on to answer his own question, talking about how people start out with small lies, then begin to steal, then do worse things.
That’s right, and I didn’t feel the need to theologize any further with him. The best thing I could say to him is, “Son, that’s a good question, and I’m glad you’re asking.” I didn’t have to tell him again in that moment that we want to be good people, that we don’t want to be bad guys. I can tell that’s his heart’s desire.