In 1992, the Los Angeles riots–the ones that produced Rodney King’s famous words, can’t we all just get a long, and that cost millions upon millions–seemed to push the city to its limits.
Here where I am, in New Orleans after Katrina, there were roving bands of normal people who, overnight, transformed into thieves and murderers. Militia guarding their property with rifles.
Strangest about all of this is how easy mobs are to form.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem during his last week: the city welcomed him as the king who would overthrow the Romans. They swarmed him. Ready to pronounce him kim and give him the throne, here, now.
A few days later at his mock trial: the same throngs demanded he be put to death. And instead, release the guerrilla insurrectionist, Barabbas.
But such swings–between normal to mob, and between happy-mob to angry-mob–are not really that uncommon.
In fact, we find that sort of behavior inside our own selves. For a lot of people, just driving the morning commute is point enough. You wake up, have your morning prayer time, kiss your kids on the way out, and then…someone cuts you off in traffic and the next thing you know, you’re trying to run them off the road. Oops.
It seems strange, when we think about it like this, how we can then turn and question why we need a savior. Why our sin is really punishable by something as serious as death.
But really, when we’re honest, and when we look for it, the proof is all over us.