I was watching 60 Minutes, a story about refugees from Syria. It was heart wrenching. Thousands of families crossing wasteland with nothing but their clothes, facing a very uncertain future. Many emotions weld up: sympathy, thanksgiving for my own life, anger at those whose greed and quest for power created these situations. There is so much evil in the world. We see it every day.
The World is full of Evil. We see evil on an international scale, but it’s also in our face nationally if we pay any attention to politics, locally, even in our personal lives. We don’t just see evil on television; we know evil people. You would think that with so much evil that the church would not be facing indictment number 3.
Indictment Number 3: Ignorance of the nature of man.
I am evil. I’m sorry. The “man is basically good” folks are just wrong. We can recognize that there are evil people. We just can’t admit that we are one of them. The problem is that compared with war mongers, murders, and people who post “like this” things on Facebook, we look pretty good. The problem is these obviously evil people are not the standard. God is.
Don’t Know Bible. Don’t Know God. Don’t Know Me. Indictment Number 1 says we don’t know Scripture. It follows in Indictment Number 2 that we don’t know God. Is it any surprise that we don’t recognize our own depravity? Think about this. If everyone could read your every thought, if they could see inside your head, would they see some evil?
Evil? Not me? It’s not fun to recognize our own depravity. We all play a cover up game. We smile and act nice even when our hearts are in a very different state. We all shun fire-and-brimstone preaching even though it’s so rare we probably haven’t really ever heard any. Who likes to be told they are a sinner? Kind of silly, considering we all are.
So what’s the harm if we kind of skip over the “we deserve hell” part? The harm is that if we don’t come face to face with the fact that we deserve hell AND that there is nothing we can do about it, on our own. We won’t fully appreciate salvation. We won’t experience conversion, because we won’t appreciate how much we need it. We will fall back on thinking we can do it ourselves through our own power. We will want to get back to the law, thinking comparatively we weren’t that bad. If you never come to the place where you can see the evil in the world while staring into a mirror, you can never experience conversion and regeneration. What’s the purpose in being born again; if what you are is okay?
Before there can be good news, there has to be complete, absolute acceptance of the bad news: We’re bad. I’m bad. Ultimately accepting that fact is the beginning of good news.