devotional

05JUL
2014

The World We Do Not Have and Can Hardly Imagine

 

  1 John 3:11-12 says: “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.”

     Imagine a world where everyone listened to this. I was at the DFAC eating dinner the other night with a secular “atheist” co-worker of mine. He dislikes the idea that someone, “Needs a book to tell him right from wrong.” He spoke about how everyone knows right from wrong. I agreed. We do not need the Bible to tell us right from wrong, at least not entirely. There is a more in-depth or sophisticated knowledge of right and wrong that comes with it, but we have a conscience from birth by which we do certainly know right from wrong on a very real level. My secular “atheist” co-worker would have no real answer, however, for why the world is as bad as it is. I do. I know what's wrong. I read an edition of Stars and Stripes this morning while waiting for my C-130 to arrive to fly around Afghanistan. It was as depressing as usual. I read of how Iraq is now quickly becoming the new-old front for American war, how a 33 yr. old man is in jail for leaving his toddler son in a hot car all day to kill him, how a family may have lied for money about a restaurant kicking them out because customers were unsettled by the scars on their sweet little girl's face who'd been attacked by a dog, of a woman who tossed her newborn baby under a load of clothes where it died after giving birth to “it” in the shower, a national protest (somewhere) against governmental injustices where police had to throw riot gas, how a bomb had exploded, again, in Kabul, how a Palestinian boy's brutal murder had sparked one neighborhood's protest and violent reaction against the alleged aggressors, how Target stores are asking their patrons not to bring their guns into Target where it's perhaps even legal to carry a weapon in public, how people are more and more inclined to believe they're entitled to free birth control from their employers due to their, “Reproductive rights” and on and on it went. I read all this after having mortar rockets explode near me within the last 48 hours, again, adjusted my pistol on my belt and went about my day.

     It was the great prophet Steven Tyler who once sang, “Something's wrong with the world today, don't know what it is.” Well, Steven, I do. The problem is SIN. The problem is us. It's our very hearts that must be changed. The gospel does that. What's wrong with the world today is that we refuse to listen to 1 John 3:11-12, and to not be like Cain. After Eden there has been dominant evil in the world. Cain murdered Abel brutally. That was really early in human history. From the start, John says, God has commanded love toward one's brothers. Note: Under Adam and Eve we're all brothers and sisters. John's inspired reflections hearken him back all the way to Cain and Abel, some of the first descendants of Adam and Eve after The Fall.

     Imagine a world that truly obeyed the, “Golden rule” found in Luke 6:31 which/Who says, “just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” It's almost impossible to, I know, but God gave us imaginations, so let's try for a moment. Imagine a world where there was no child abuse, because we wouldn't do to a child what we'd not have wanted done to us as kids. Imagine a world entirely devoid of spousal abuse, unwanted pregnancies, no sexually transmitted diseases (because there'd be no unmarried men and women having sex therefore all standing a zero percent chance of it), no murder, no rape, no theft, no lying, no vandalism, no pornography, no false religion, no gossip, no democrats (kidding on this one), etc. I know, the vast majority of the world would be unemployed. We wouldn't need the military (so I'd be out of a job), no police, no judges, no lawyers (at least most would be gone), no jails, no…you get the picture. Heaven will be that way. Oh, heaven!

The church, sadly, in many instances does not look all that different from the world. I think this breaks my heart just about more than anything. We who claim to have the God-given ability to love in the way St. John writes through the indwelling power of God the Holy Spirit still bicker, lie, murder, cheat, divorce, hate our parents and more. Steven Tyler is right. There is something wrong. We, however, should know what it is. Are we about fixing it to God's glory is my question?

     Reader, fixing it does not start with anyone but you. Kind of narrows the scope, doesn't it? There is a way to fix us if we've been born again. In all of John's writing here he doesn't just rave on against first century idolatry or sin. I, an uninspired wretch, do not wish to alone do so against the twenty-first's either. Like John, I want to mention the wrong, but focus on the grace of God through His cross. John repeatedly says things like, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us…” 1 John 3:16. Oh, how this has changed the world! Has it changed you? When you personally examine your heart toward your brothers has a cross-centered focus been given to you with your faith that's changed how you see and love them? Do you love in word only? Or does your heart yearn to show others the kind of love that Christ has showed you? That's the fix. It really is. In the church there is to be a preciousness in fellowship. Are you a part of it? Hear me here: do you love people in a fashion befitting your belief that your God was slowly crucified for them? A focus on the problems isn't the answer; the cross is the answer. If the world would repent they'd know this too. How about you? Have you been given eyes to see? Then see. Look to the cross and let this color your every thought. Love matters. We've so trivialized it, but love is not something we have for chocolate or sports. Love is something worth dying for.

     There is something wrong with the world today. It'll be that way until it's done. If we name the name of Christ, I pray that the problem isn't us. 2 Timothy 2:19.

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