Photo by David Rauzi
A bare tree illuminated by a streetlight casts shadows on the Community Presbyterian Church in Kamiah.
As of Tuesday, March 31, 2015
If you watch any news, you most likely were not able to escape the terrible images of Coptic Christians, dressed in orange jumpsuits, lined up before their captors, minutes before they were savagely killed. You may have seen reports of people in the Middle East maimed by bombs, displaced by terrorists, their homes burned, and their livelihood destroyed. However, problems are not confined to other countries. In our own nation we daily hear of acts of unspeakable violence, massive harm from substance addiction, the moral failure of public leaders, just to name a few.
When our institutions try to grasp at why things are the way they are, all we seem to hear is speculation about “causes.” It’s the economy, lack of opportunity, lack of employment and so on. But what if the sources of our failures lie in the “choices” we make?
The writer of Psalm 14 speaks to our condition: “The Lord looks down from Heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God. They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one.”
Our social and psychological sciences stand helpless before the terrible things done by human beings, but they somehow cannot admit to the ruined condition of the human will and that our mind, feelings, body and social relationships are warped.
Are we like the farmer, who plants crops according to the best methods available but cannot admit to the existence of weeds and insects? All he can think of is to pour on more fertilizer. Similarly, the only solution to our human problems we know today is “education.” Indeed, education is a good thing, but do we really think that if people generally understood what the right thing to do is — they would do it?
Is there any hope for us today or have we resigned to our worst expectation that the world is going to hell?
I am convinced that there is hope, but that hope needs to be rooted in truth. Reality is that you and I are ruined by sin and that our hearts need to be “renovated!” The place to start is to seek to fear God. As Proverbs 9:10 states, we begin to get smart when we fear being crosswise of God, when we fear not doing what he wants and not being as he requires.
Volkhard Graf is with Youth With a Mission in Kamiah.