Weird week of news. Most of you are well aware of the “cannibalism” events, and if you haven’t done your homework, just skip that assignment. One episode in particular has been haunting me for a few days now. It troubles me to no end that, even in a purported drug-induced state, an individual could carry on in such disturbing behavior. Humans performing horrible acts upon other humans isn’t news at all, but news stories and pictures (that I shouldn’t have looked up) don’t assuage my imagination at all.
As ridiculous as it might sound, the incident has challenged my faith, along with my ability to sleep soundly. The essential question (“why would God let this happen?”) is dwarfed by a much heavier conundrum: what is it going to take for people to realize how tragic this world is to prompt people to turn to the ultimate source of righteousness, the Lord Almighty? And how long is it going to take for Jesus to return? Is He actually going to do it?
Walking out of a church service can make you feel immortal and even brave. “Oh, you. Of course Jesus is coming back, silly. And this is a fallen world. It all started in the garden!”
The latter, stock Christianese answer makes me ill. It’s an excuse for poor behavior and sheer ignorance. Even seasoned Christians use this excuse to justify idiocy, even within themselves.
David didn’t look at Adam or our “sin nature” in Psalm 10. He examined the present state of humanity, and it hasn’t really changed much since he composed the piece.
Without the desire or priority to submit to the Lord, there isn’t much holding us back from extremely selfish behavior. “For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire…God is in none of his thoughts.” (v. 3-4) If you’re a Christian reading this, don’t you dare say this is below you. We’re all capable of pride and ignoring God altogether.
David continues to write about these people “persecuting the poor.” (v. 2) They also are “always prospering” and the say they shall “not be moved” or “never be in adversity.” Finally, in the midst of their prowl-and-attack behavior, they proclaim, “God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see.”
With the exception of the last statement, I’ve witnessed and observed this very same behavior among congregants of your church. They ignore the cries of the weak and heap their wealth upon themselves; they continue to reach for more as if God owes them something for being His kids; they perceive themselves untouchable, immune to any trouble (and if they are, they blame this fallen world/the government/Satan/someone else besides themselves); they brandish their sword and attack other Christians as well as anyone that opposes their ideologies.
It’s stunning, because we forget the defining attribute that separates us from evil. It’s not good behavior, or being militant about things (guilty!), or even posting verses on Facebook (tongue-in-cheek statement).
It’s love. Jesus was clear. People will know we are His disciples if we love one another. (John 13:35).
Yes, that might require telling the truth, or standing firm upon the Word and all it says. But love must supersede all. And that’s always hard to do, because it requires being humble.
Humility is risky, because it makes us vulnerable, and it exposes our utmost vices. But this characteristic is inescapable if we insist on distinguishing ourselves as Christians.
“But you have seen,” David says. “You have heard the desire of the humble.” (v. 14, 17)
What will it take for people to see God, finally? Brothers and sisters, invest in humility. This may not change the whole wickedness of this world — until the day of the Lord, this will continue — but it will change you and make a difference immediately around you.
An old song, and unabashedly preachy in nature, but relevant: Down In Flames by Relient K.