THE GANGSTER IN ALL OF US
Yesterday, I was listening to the news about gangsters “ruling” the maximum security prison of our country. Twelve groups of gangsters each with a dormitory. They maintain order, surprisingly, but conduct illegal activities to do so. And we allowed them, at least for a time. We always question does the end justify the means? We know the answer, at least in the groups I belong to. And No matter how many times and hard we ponder, the answer is NO, the end does not justify the means. Giving privileges (money, drinks, drugs) to prisoners because they help keep prison peace is simply insane!
But why do our thoughts and beliefs not translate to reality? We know and yet we do not act; some don’t know and couldn’t act. We don’t know the proper means? (something legal and moral!) We don’t know what is legal? (the one stated in the law of men!) Or what is moral? (the one stated in the law of God!) A lot of times, the answer is as clear as the noonday sun. Somehow, the truth is, though we know we choose not to follow. And not rarely, we choose not to know (ignorance is not an excuse).
The interesting thing is it’s not only in the “means” that we falter. We talk about “means” but people are also confused about the ” end”. What exactly do you want achieved? Peace, joy, and prosperity for all? Or happiness and prosperity for yourself and your family’s? We’re all confused, in a way. So in the prison cell, whose peace (or convenience!) are they really after? Here’s the thing, even the proper means cannot justify a wrong end. And definitely wrong for wrong is the worst (double whammy!) We cannot just protect and uphold ourselves, our group, organization, institution, country (for whatever reason) regardless of its impact on others. That was the start of the holocaust!
But you know what? There is a gangster in all of us. The quest for control, for wealth, security, for popularity and good (‘bad ass’) reputation is in all of us. And many times, we subscribe to the wrong means; and not a few times, we have the wrong end in mind– a selfish end. The quest for belonging is also innate in all of us. And we choose to belong rather than be right (with God).
The enemy knows that- man’s desire for wealth, security, and “dominion”, And more and bigger of everything. That’s exactly what was used to tempt our Lord and Savior Jesus, and He triumphed for all of us. And we are called to be in His likeness– not right away but through a process in the confines of His grace. And then and only by then, can we begin to kick this gangster out of our system. And then we can say, “No, man does not live on bread alone.” “No, I have everything I need in Christ Jesus.” “No, I will only worship the Lord our God, and serve him only.” And say No to wrong means; and No to wrong End. And do (as we say).
In Matthew 4:3-11:
“The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God, he said, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you, he said, if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.