“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
– H.L. Mencken, “Prejudices: First Series”
Piracy is the ultimate form of rebellion against the law of the land. If the land is to have it’s law, then let’s take our crimes to the open sea, the law be damned. Such is the life of a pirate: attacking, killing, and robbing poor souls at sea who have no protection from the pirates other than what they bring with them. Victims are usually outnumbered and outgunned, often slaughtered ruthlessly, for nothing more than material gain, be it the boat, the goods on board, or the women and children. To a normal man, it is unthinkable, despicable, uncivilized and just plain wrong, yet Mr. Mencken has rightly herein written a glance at the heart of a “normal man”.
No matter how good someone appears on the outside, no matter the good deeds they perform, there is always something within each of us that is purely nasty, selfish, despicably mean, and just plain evil. Even if it is so infinitesimally small, that it seems benign, there is something there that God says is selfish and evil (Rom 3:10; Is 64:6)
It has also been rightly said that if we could be punished for our thoughts, we’d be in big, big trouble. For most of the world, this observation stops right there, because no one knows them, and therefore we are not punished by the law of the land. No harm; no foul.
But God (and hopefully his chosen children) sees things differently. He knows our thoughts. Though no one else may know them, and could never pass judgement on us for having them, God knows, and God judges, because our thoughts guide our hearts, and so, what we think upon, we begin to desire in the tiniest of ways at first, but too much of these thoughts, left unchecked and uncontrolled, begin to form our hearts in ways that are unGodly, and we begin to follow after such things.
Christ said that if we lust after a woman in our heart, we have already committed adultery (Matt 5:28). If we have hated our brother, we have committed murder (I John 3:15). It is all about our hearts, which the Bible says are desperately wicked and deceitful (Jer 17:9).
So, yes, all men are tempted. I am sure, because of our selfish sinful nature, that we have all been tempted to simply take something for ourselves, even allowing the thought to take a violent turn (such as slitting a throat) to accomplish it. Most of us have never done, nor ever will do, such things, praise God! …but all of us have thought about it or its equivalent.
Then what must we do, especially since we are all guilty of this? Well, if we believe, then we are not normal men. We have Jesus with us, in us through the Holy Spirit, and interceding at the right hand of the Father for us. Therefore, we should turn to the Word.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” II Cor 10:5
God says you don’t have to think like the world. If an evil, selfish thought enters your mind, Stop! Bring it to Christ and lay it down. Then, think about Him, about the victory He has for us, and for everyone.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8