What kind of man could shoot his two children while talking to his wife on the phone? According to his friends, acquaintances, fellow workers, and neighbors, the answer was “a good man, a compassionate man, and a loving father.” Most of those interviewed after the killings concluded by saying, “He was two men. The man that did this horrible deed was a man we had never seen before.”
The kind of man that could do such terrible things is described in Romans 7:21-23; “I find then the law, that, to me who would do good, evil is present. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members.” You and I are that kind of man!
To see the person that is you or I in repose is a deceptive sight. An observer would see a relaxed envelope of skin, hair, eyes, and nails. It would never be guessed that the covering is concealing the sights and sounds of a gigantic battle. Or that the good person we strive to be is only a second removed from a deed that would horrify our friends, bring upon us a lifetime of remorse, and separate us from a God that loves us and provides every tool that is needed to avoid such a terrible deed. The most steadfast Christian is only one uncontrolled passion from a sin that would shock his neighbor and disgrace him forever!
Later in this same book of Romans the Holy Spirit tells us “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” (Romans 12:9) And a little later, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” The evil man or woman that is within is killed. “They that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and lusts thereof.” (Galatians 5:24)
The admonition in Ephesians 6 to nurture our children in the admonition of the Lord provides an important key not only to child raising but also to Christian living: “Encourage the good and starve the bad.” We can do this in our children and we can do this in ourselves. “Make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14)
The soliloquy in Romans chapter seven would paint a dismal picture indeed but for one thing. So much is this so that Paul is moved at one point to cry. “Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” The one thing that changes the entire scene of misery is the answer that Paul gives: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25)