Sterling’s Truths for Life #123

If you want to prevent crime, change your culture, not your laws.

law culture politics

Further Explanation

It is true that laws can make it harder to perform certain crimes, but they alone cannot mitigate the desire to perform crime. The true prevention of crime involves converting hearts of stone to hearts of flesh who serve Jesus Christ, which begins the sanctifying work of removing the desire to crime in the hearts of each person who pursues that conversion daily in the context of people who have been justified before God despite their sins.

For those who will not convert, you may be able to create a culture that balances respect of authority and the respect of rights. If you respect authority too much, the culture will succumb to tyranny. If the society respects rights too much, the culture will succumb to lawlessness. I believe every culture with low crime and yet lives relatively free (whether according to Christian formalism or not) has succeeded because it achieved this sort of balance. Cultures that manage to attain balance rarely survive with that balance intact for more than a generation or two. It is walking the knife's edge.

Most cultures respect neither authority nor rights and, ironically, end up with both tyranny and lawlessness.

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Copyright © 2016 Sterling Hanenkamp.