The way the story of Melissa Huckaby – aka that “Sunday School teacher” – is being played out in the press tells us quite a bit about the prevailing worldview regarding the presence of evil in the world. Earlier this week USA Today ran a headline on the case: “Two cases, one question: How could a woman do that?” There under the headline was Huckaby’s face and that of the little eight-year-old girl she’s been charged with raping and murdering.
I’m especially stumped by the Christians who are asking the same “How could she?” question. We shouldn’t at all be surprised by the many relatives and friends of Huckaby who in this case – like others – minimize Huckaby’s behavior. Those closest to perpetrators are known to do that quite a bit. But I increasingly believe that disbelief and wonder are not options.
Earlier today we were talking about this case along with the unfolding details of the Craig’s List case unfolding in New England during a seminar here at the Shift Conference at Willow Creek. None of us like what happened. If we believe in the inherent goodness of people, then there should be shock and surprise. If we hold to a Christian worldview and an understanding of original sin, then we are constantly aware of the fact that we’re all only one bad decision away from this and other stuff ourselves. If I don’t believe in original sin and the inability of humanity to be good and be good enough to save themselves, then the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus was all for naught. Incarnation wasted.
The human heart is dark. It desperately needs The Light. And we shouldn’t be at all surprised when Sunday School Teachers, school principals, and med school students do stuff like this.