In his classic devotional, My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers speaks of the incredible importance of "reconciling oneself to the fact of sin." Indeed, he claims that failing to do so "produces all the disasters in life." It is, according to Chambers, failing to see "vice and self-seeking," as well as "something downright spiteful and wrong in human beings" that causes us to compromise with evil rather than combat it. Chambers contends that every time we're beguiled to believe in the "nobility of human nature," our fallen nature will "laugh in [our] face.”
In 1961, Adolph Eichmann, known as the butcher of Auschwitz, was captured by Israeli agents and brought to Israel to stand trial. During the trial, survivors of Auschwitz, the infamous Nazi death camp, were brought in as witnesses against Eichmann. One of these witnesses, Yehiel Dinur, collapsed on the floor in uncontrollable weeping when he entered the courtroom and caught sight of Eichmann. Afterward, when asked to explain the reason for his collapse, Dinur offered a frightening observation.
Eichmann, Dinur explained, did not look like an evil monster, but like an ordinary person. He looked like everyone else. As a result, Dinur said he suddenly realized in that dreadful moment "that evil is endemic to the human condition and that any one of us could commit the same atrocities.” Dinur then added this spine-chilling conclusion: “Eichmann is in all of us!”
The Bible teaches us that the unregenerate heart of man "is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9). This explains why Scripture teaches us that Christ not only saves us from our sin, but from ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:15). Our real problem is not our sins, what we do, but our sin, what we are. Only Christ can save us from our sinful selves and from our own self-destruction, which inevitably lies at the end of every good human cause, as well as behind all good human intentions. Try as we may, we cannot produce anything but evil apart from God, who is the only good (Mark 10:18; Romans 3:12).
The proof of this poison pudding is easily proven by present-day protests. For instance, despite a plethora of past protests and promised political panaceas, America's racial divide perpetually widens and deepens. Why? Is it not because fallen humanity believes in its nobility rather than its nefariousness? Instead of seeing ourselves as Eichmanns, we see ourselves as exceptional. We believe we can do wonders, because we don't believe our hearts are desperately wicked.
That humanity can maintain this illusion about itself, in spite of the carnage of human history, is truly remarkable. All of man's attempts to create heaven on earth have resulted in hell on earth. The more fallen man tries to deliver himself from dire and desperate consequences, the deeper and darker his consequences become. Still, human beings refuse to turn to Christ, their only hope and Savior, and resolve to hope against hope, by believing they can save themselves, despite the fact that thirty-five hundred years of recorded human history has empirically proven the futility of such a foolish proposition.