At times humans are so very impressive, but then at other times so very disappointing. We fleetingly convince ourselves that humans are rather remarkable, but then we come back to earth with a thud.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) sounds like an example of humanity working together at its best. In its own words, "The IMF promotes international monetary cooperation and exchange rate stability, facilitates the balanced growth of international trade, and provides resources to help members in balance of payments difficulties or to assist with poverty reduction”. Sounds very noble! The IMF is a co-operative effort of 187 countries, serving as a specialist agency of the UN. With research, think tanks and economic surveillance, the IMF monitors national and international economic activity and provides technical assistance and training to help countries improve economic management. As well as all that, the IMF has the capacity to loan money to help countries overcome economic difficulties and to concessionally (ie. cheaply) loan money to help fight poverty in developing countries.
In 2007 the IMF appointed a new Managing Director, the then French Finance Minister, Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Strauss-Kahn announced a reform agenda to make the IMF 'better for everybody'. Last week he was accused and then charged in New York for allegedly trying to rape a hotel chambermaid. On a salary and allowance package of over $US 500,000 (tax free), the head of the IMF holds an extremely prestigious world position. Mr Strauss-Kahn has now resigned while he awaits trial for these alleged crimes. There is increasing speculation that he may face further allegations of sexual misconduct.
The alleged tawdry behaviour of the Managing Director seems so at odds with the noble aims and goals of the IMF. But in a snapshot, humanity's central dilemna is exposed. We try to be noble but something within us drags us back down. In essence we want to be better than we actually are. We let people into our lives but fear that if they really discover our moral centre, they will be disappointed that the gloss is at best dull and most often, decidedly stained.
Humans still have many admirable desires and goals, and at our best we even occasionally achieve something genuinely good. But our bias to sin, our deep-seated rebellion against God, and our distorted views of our own innocence continue to dilute our achievement.
We all walk closer to conviction by human laws than we let on and before the judgement seat of God we are far from innocent.
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” Romans 7: 24-25