Twelve years without sugar. That has been the response of a very dear friend of mine to a meeting he had with his doctor 12 years ago. As the doctor stood before him, he delivered news that no one wants to hear; he was borderline diabetic and would need to start treatment.
But my friend is a man with two qualities everyone needs — wisdom and discipline.
He told the doctor to give him a month and let him see what he could do with diet and exercise alone. After a month of no sugar and daily exercise, his numbers were far more normal. And thus it is that, 12 years later, he has not put another drop of sugar in his system, continues to work out every day and remains healthy.
Please pay close attention at this point. I am not a medical doctor, I am not giving any advice on diabetes or any other medical condition, and this column has nothing at all to do with diabetes, really. The situation my friend has been through and handled is, to me, merely an excellent illustration of how to deal with a pressing societal issue.
In previous years, there was a near-universal acknowledgment of the sin nature of man, and people were wise enough to act and even govern accordingly. Romans 3:10 says, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” In Romans 7:18 Paul said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” These and a multitude of other verses give testimony to what should be an obvious fact: every human being has a sin nature, a propensity to do wrong.
For a variety of politically correct motivations, the fact of man’s sin nature is often denied in our days. Those that do so, do so to their detriment, and that of society as a whole. When people recognize that everyone has a sin nature, they can behave and govern in such a way as to mitigate the effects, much like my friend has managed his diabetes by refraining from all sugar.
Since everyone has a sin nature, wise parents, rather than allowing their children to do whatever they want, set careful boundaries, checks and balances and safeguards around those children.
They do not allow unchecked internet access, they monitor who their kids are hanging around, they set curfews, they have rules as to what destinations and activities are acceptable, and which ones are off limits.
Since everyone has a sin nature, wise husbands and wives make themselves accountable to each other. They do not have online accounts that the spouse does not have knowledge of or access to, they give each other full access to their smart phones, and they know each other’s passwords.
Since everyone has a sin nature, a wise minister never counsels alone behind closed doors with a child or a member of the opposite sex, does not travel and stay in hotels alone, and is willingly accountable to others.
Since everyone has a sin nature, wise lawmakers put laws in place carrying consequences for wrongdoing, provide for police officers to patrol the streets, and even place limits and oversights on the officers themselves.
If there were no sin nature, there would be no need for laws or rules or officers or curfews or accountability or societal barriers or a host of other often inconvenient things. But since there is a sin nature in every man and woman and boy and girl of every race and background, it must be accounted for and dealt with on a practical level. Denying the Bible truth that man does have a sin nature promises Utopia and delivers the Maelstrom.
As we go about our days, let us do so with three things: The sobering realization that man does have a sin nature, a willingness to put up safeguards against it, and the joy of knowing that since Jesus came and died to save sinners.
And all of us are sinners. We all qualify for the opportunity to be saved.
Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, N.C., a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. Dr. Wagner can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.