What’s the Difference?

I’m standing in line with my buggy full of groceries. A man walks up behind me with one thing in each hand. I told the man to go ahead. He’s not going to slow me down. By the time I get my things on the conveyor belt, he will be checked out.

Before I realized it, he left a hundred dollars in cash toward my groceries. Honest. I tried to stop him but he was gone. So, my grocery bill ended up being 7 dollars and change.

To this day, I cannot imagine a reason behind what he did. Certainly, the savings in time was not that much to him. I must simply mark this one up as me encountering an incredible generous man. I truly hope that God took note of that and provided him with a reward.

On the other hand, you have people such as Hitler, Mao, Stalin and Putin. Just what’s the difference? What causes one man to be so kind and generous and another ruthless and selfish? One man is kind and easy to get along with, while another will kill at the drop of the hat.

It is a question that has puzzled me over the years, almost 3/4 of a century. I am not going to pretend I know. There are some that are so foolish as to pretend they have the answer. They call some of them psychologists and some of them psychiatrist.

Some will say it is their environment, the way they are taught from their youth. Others say it is inherited. Of course they are both right; they are both wrong and both are also completely astray.

Some partial answers come from the Bible. But then the Bible also produces more questions, ones for which I haven’t an answer, not a clue. Let’s take for instance Cain and Able, the sons of Adam and Eve. They were both born of the same parents and they were both brought up under the best possible environment. Yet, one pleased God and the other became a murderer. On top of that, he had the stupidity of trying to hide it from God.

I assure you, no psychologist will ever explain that to my satisfaction. Then some time later, twins are born of Izaak. One goes on to please God, the other not. Again same parents, same environment. To be sure, one was preferred by the mother, the other by the father. Still, later, it is recorded that God hated Esau. It is not an explanation, just an observation.

In one place in the Bible, it says that we must each answer for our own sins. Then, in another, God says that He will visit the sins of the fathers, I think, to the 7th generation. In Revelation, it is written that we will all be judged individually, yet, we are also told that sin is inherited. That is to say, we sin because it is inherited from our parents and originally from Adam.

So, in parts of the Bible, it would seem we are judged from inheritance, in others, because of our training. There is but one thing I can positively bring away from it all. We are all individuals with free wills. We are all judged as a result of our decisions, not the decisions of our ancestors.

Based on this, things do not look so good for Putin. One day he will face God as we all will. The same is true for Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc. I guess at that judgement day, it will make the difference. Still, I really wished I could understand it. Did Putin have a bad environment or was it inherited. Did Hitler murder 6 million Jews because of the way one treated him one day. Maybe it was just faulty reasoning. This side of eternity, we will never know.

However, there is one thing we do know. Such horrible people have existed from the beginning and they will remain until Jesus returns. All we can hope to do is identify them and try to keep them from ruling the world, or just part of it.

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