Monday, January 12, 2009

The Second stage of Desensitization: Justification

“It won’t hurt just this once.”

“I’m only doing it for their benefit.”

“It will be better in the end if I _____.”

Have you ever heard anyone use these phrases? Ever used them yourself? Then you have experienced the second stage of desensitization: justification.

Justification, as a word and a concept, isn’t all bad. It is by Christ’s blood that we are justified before God—that is, we are brought up by Christ’s blood so that we’re declared as meeting the righteous requirements and standards of God.

However, there is another form of justification—the bringing of a standard down to our level so we can say we meet it. This is desensitization’s form of justification. This says it’s okay to eat the forbidden fruit because it will bring wisdom.

Unfortunately, most of us—dare I say all?—employ this tactic frequently, often without second thought. In fact, you probably just employed it as you recoiled from the above statement. “I’m not a bad person.” “I never do wrong unless I absolutely have to.” “What about________? Are you going to tell me that is wrong?” “Justify? Me? You should see this person I know at work, school, church, etc.” You’ve just changed the standard so the wrong you’ve committed is no longer wrong—you’ve justified yourself.

The problem with changing the standard (besides the fact that God’s never change, no matter how much we wish it) is that after a while all the lines between good and evil blur. Justice becomes impossible to give or receive, and ultimately you are pulled into the third stage of desensitization: complacency.

No comments: