A recent headline in a major national news source blared “Child sex images are booming online. Congress wants to know why.”

Finally, a public policy question with an easy answer. People are evil.

For the most part, thought leaders, educators, psychologists, and similar professional today believe people are basically good. They think people, when left to their natural desires and devices, will gravitate toward being healthy, wholesome, and productive. Nonsense. Any honest observer of human behavior – from toddlers in a preschool to terrorists marauding through communities – knows people are evil. We are born with a propensity to selfish, self-serving, self-aggrandizing behavior. We spend our lives striving to do the right thing, not occasionally slipping up and doing the wrong thing. Sin comes easy. Holiness, not so much.

Christian theology recognizes this stark reality. We are sinners, depraved from the moment of conception, bent toward evil in the darkest part of our souls. But the good news is redemption is possible! We believe God forgives sin through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, and amazingly, then empowers us to overcome our baser instincts – rooted in the three-self attitudes described above. That’s good news on many levels!

Children being exploited for sexual pleasure is one of the worst evils perpetuated by humans on each other. Its despicable behavior, worthy of public outrage, criminal prosecution, and draconian punishment. Behavior like this is also a reminder, to all of us, of the darkness lurking in every person. We are all evil, with the capacity to act out in wicked ways. We all need forgiveness. We all need restoration. We all need – in biblical language – sanctification.

The easy explanation for horrible human behavior – although denied by most modern thinkers – is we are sinful. The hopeful solution – also disdained by many – is God forgives sin. The challenge for believers is accepting reality as the Bible describes and life demonstrates, then experiencing salvation and actualizing progressive sanctification. While we recognize the sobering reality of evil in human hearts, we celebrate the soaring possibilities of redemption in human behavior and relationships.

No one is too evil for God’s transformative power to give them new life!