Listening to a visiting missionary one evening, I heard something that stuck out to me about human nature. He was showing videos of some of the countries he had gone into and in one, we saw where Buddhists had destroyed one of the churches. A little later, we saw where in another country there were some other Buddhists who regularly cooked a meal for the kids at another church. People from the same group, who were doing two different things with different intentions.
Weeks ago, an individual walked into a black church, visited, and was welcomed by them until he left. Then later, he returned and killed nine of them. Pictures soon surfaced of him holding the battle flag of the armies of North Virginia and Tennessee during the Civil War, popularly known as the rebel flag. Now it appears that an element in society is trying to scrub anything to do with the flag or the Confederacy off the map.
The thing is, it is a symbol that has different meanings to different people. To go after it is seen as an attack on their identity, like when someone goes after your political party, or sports team that you align yourself with. It is not flown in battle anymore; now it is a symbol of heritage that was co-opted by racists. Like the Buddhists, I mentioned earlier, one group was committing vandalism; the other was working with a different religion in peace to care for children. By which group is the whole to be judged?
The problem is not symbols or what identity we choose for ourselves; the problem is we as humans. Case in point, Bill Cosby had the reputation for being a wholesome actor – recently he admitted to drugging women. It is individual people that are the problem, despite what we want to label ourselves.
It is as old as humanity, The need for a moral code to guide is as old as humanity; the need of it actually reveals the darkness in our hearts. Jesus pointed it out in Matthew 5: 17-28, we have the capacity and desires to do wrong. As a man makes a life-long commitment to a woman in marriage, that he will forsake all others, yet acting out a sex scene in his mind about the woman next door proved that the desire to break that commitment is there. Someone cuts you off in traffic and wanting nothing more than to choke them for it shows the desire to hurt another person. Take a two-year-old throwing a tantrum, hitting and biting their parents, then replace them with an adult doing the same thing; the difference is the ability to hurt while both have the same intent.
That nature in us is called the sin nature in the Bible. The best analogy I have seen for it is comparing it to cancer. The sin nature is inherent in the same way cancer cells are our own cells turned against us. The first ends in eternal suffering and the second to physical suffering. We go see a doctor about both of them.
A book I was reading-the name escapes me-had a chapter on how Jesus operated. He approached everyone as if they were sick and he had the cure, forgiveness. It was not a prescription to keep these 10 commandments to be cured any more than a strict diet change destroying the cancer cells. He puts the cancer of sin into remission until it’s cut out, and out of gratitude people started to change their lives.
It is summed up like this in Luke 5: 31-32:
“Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
What is wrong with the world?
We are. We are all sick. The Good News is the doctor is in, and he is accepting patients free of charge. It is as simple as admitting he is Lord, believing in your heart that God raised him from the dead, and you will be saved. Your trust, aka faith in your heart that he paid for your sins in your place, is what justifies you, to paraphrase Romans 10: 9-10. He did it for me. You can read Year of the Prodigal to see the before and after of my case.
Go see the doctor.