Systemic Sin

Systemic Sin

The fundamental systemic problem underlying the world’s ills is sin.

Most of my career I worked on preventing problems and harm. The key lesson is that to prevent a problem, we need to work upstream, at the underlying issues, and that more than one intervention is most likely needed.

The famous model is the “Swiss Cheese” model. Think about putting slices of swiss cheese in  row. Each slice has one or more holes, but if you close one hole, the chances of the problem getting to the next slice decline. If you solve more than one hole, and if you work on closing the holes in more than one slice, the chances of the problem getting to the person decline even more. You might even eliminate the chances of harm.

I don’t want to make this post focus on current difficulties, but if you’ll look into any of them, from “systemic racism,” to illegal behavior, to gun violence, to problems with law enforcement, to high school graduation rates, to poverty, in each there are a series of issues that cause the problem and need to be addressed. And for every issue, every single one, sin is the systemic issue.

As humans, we need to understand the chain of events leading to the problem and address multiple points to reduce harm. Often the temptation is to work just at the “pointy end,” the final step that results in the problem. But that is not the powerful place to focus. And, even if you can eliminate the “pointy end,” the underlying issues will result in a different “pointy end.” The more we can resolve issues “upstream” of the problematic result, the better.

We are responsible to do this.

But we also need to recognize that the fundamental issue is the relationship between God and man. Those without Christ walk in darkness and do the deeds of darkness. 

Let’s pray we see our sin, repent, and turn to God in belief.