Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?
2 Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.
3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.
4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear;
5 Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.
6 Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord.
7 Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces.
8 As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.
9 Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath.
10 The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.
We expect judges to be incorruptible dispensers of justice; we look to rulers to maintain law and order and to create a safe society. But as stated by Baron Acton, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” History is replete with stories of incredible acts of oppression and injustice. Surely we are right to feel the utmost indignation at their inhumane abuse of power, and to long for the day when “the wicked will be swept away…. Then men will say, ‘Surely the righteous shall rejoice and be rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.’”
But consider this: Every one of these men was born an innocent baby, held to the breast of a loving mother. How did such an apparent innocence change into something so evil? Actually the potential was there from the start: “Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.” The fearful truth is that we are all born with the same tendencies to evil. If we have not walked in their footsteps, we can only thank God. As one great preacher said, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”