What’s Wrong With World? [v44]

OCTOBER 2002

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD?…WHAT IN THE WORLD IS WRONG?
(And can it be changed?)

I’ve got to believe that every one agrees that something is terribly wrong with the world in which we live—and personally, having been educated as an architect and being a very ‘logical’ kind of person, I always try to find the ‘foundation’ or the essential ‘reason’ for any question.

Recognizing that we may be on the verge of war in Iraq—coupled with the increasing tensions in the Middle East—the prospect of a nuclear war, that could destroy even civilization itself, is a real possibility.

We in America have the highest standard of living in the world. We are a prosperous nation. We have educational advantages. We have everything, and yet something is wrong. We are not a happy people. We have more boredom per square inch in this country than any country in the world. Our divorce rate is the highest, indicating our homes are basically unhappy. A psychiatrist recently said that 90% of the American homes are unhappy. I think he stretched the point a bit, but it still illustrates what many are thinking and what many sociologists know. Why do we have these tensions in life? Why do we have these explosive problems in every generation? What causes these problems? Why can’t we solve our problems?

I contend that the foundational ‘problem’ is PEOPLE—more specifically, our HUMAN NATURE.

We all face problems within ourselves. Many people today are searching for happiness. They’re searching for peace of mind. They’re searching for joy, and they’re not finding it. They’ve tried money; they’ve tried other things in life. But they haven’t been able to find the peace, the relaxation, and the joy that they want. So, what’s wrong? What has happened? What’s wrong with man? What’s wrong with the world in which we live? Can it be ‘righted’?

In trying to solve the problems of the world, I believe we are making the mistake of treating the symptoms. The race problem is a symptom. War is a symptom. Crime is a symptom. The sociological problem is a symptom. Something deeper is wrong. The fact that you cannot control certain things in your life that are wrong is a symptom. So what is the cause?

We are all masters at making excuses. We may blame our upbringing, our particular circumstances, or the way we have been treated by others. These days some have even blamed our genes.

Anna Russell, a singer with a sense of humor, wrote this:

“I went to my psychiatrist to be psychoanalysed
To find out why I killed the cat and blackened my husband’s eyes.
He laid me on a downy couch to see what he could find,
And here is what he dredged up from my subconscious mind:
When I was one, my mommie hid my dolly in a trunk,
And so it follows naturally that I am always drunk.
When I was two, I saw my father kiss the maid one day,
And that is why I suffer now from kleptomania.
At three, I had the feeling of ambivalence towards my brothers,
And so it follows naturally I poison all my lovers.
But I am happy; now I’ve learned the lesson this has taught;
That everything I do that’s wrong is someone else’s fault.”

One acute observer of the human condition, noticed that we now have convenient ‘device’ called “collective irresponsibility”—one that has enabled us to transfer the blame for some of our deviant behavior from ourselves as individuals to society as a whole or to one of its many groupings. What happened to being responsible for our own actions?

I, for one, accept the fact that I am far from perfect, and have a ‘built-in’ tendency to blame others for my faults and do ‘things’ I don’t want to. Not trying to ‘skirt’ the issue, I maintain that this is a part of my human nature—one that everyone has. In the Bible, one of the most passionate ‘followers’ of Christ, the apostle Paul, said, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. [Romans 7:15-20].

As one reads more of what the Bible says, we find that it strongly declares what Paul said—that all these evil things come from within—they devour the individual and then they devour the society. The Bible teaches that something is wrong with human nature, something is wrong with man himself. What is that “something”? The Scriptures say that man has a disease—a disease called SIN (If you would like to investigate the Bible’s view of sin, visit the following link:
http://www.4VIS.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q9_d3_1of10.html ).

Many people respond to this like they would in changing the way they look—through force of will (and maybe a lot of bleach). Even though one can change some of their thoughts and actions, their essential nature, their ‘soul’, is ‘impervious’ to human efforts to change.

Changing your life is not accomplished by grand moral behavior, sheer force of will or intellectual pursuits. No matter how good, strong or intelligent we think we are, the fact remains that we are still in such a desperate, wretched condition that nothing we do can get us out of it—by ourselves. A Biblical prophet said that, “all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags” to God [Isaiah 64:6]. Rather than us trying to reach up to God’s standard, the Bible tells us about a God that is reaching down and pulling us up out of the muck and mire onto solid ground. Only then can we tap into His power to change our lives—our very nature—and then the world!

One of the wisest men that ever lived, Solomon, writes about this saying, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” [Proverbs 4:23]. The heart to which Solomon referred was not the ‘blood-pumping’ station that keeps our body in motion, but the emotional ‘center’ located between our temples.

It has been said that a person without the God’s Holy Spirit has only three of the four parts of our being: the will (choice), the mind (thought), and the heart (emotion). People are affected emotionally by what they allow in their minds—and what we place in our mind is determined by our will. So, the ‘path’ of actions starts with the will ‘choosing’ to allow a desire to take root in the mind; the mind then ‘nurturing’ the attitudes that grow out of that desire, affecting the emotions; then the heart ‘triggers’ the actions. But only with the fourth part of our being, the strength or power, will the actions be ‘committed’ to reality.

People never do a ‘wrong’ spontaneously—it all starts in the mind. Long before one commits murder they have harbored hatred, anger, and bitterness in their minds. Before people commit adultery they have harbored lust in their minds. Someone once said, “You are what you read” (updated for today…You are what you see). The mind receives whatever the will chooses—and the emotions will be affected by whatever is put into the mind.

This is where God’s Holy Spirit comes in. He infuses us with His strength and power to be able to ‘counteract’ and resist what we, ‘deep down’, know is bad—but just can’t resist. This is why Jesus gave us the challenge to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul [will], with all your strength, and with all your mind” [Luke 10:27].

The Bible says that when we allow the Holy Spirit to take up ‘residence’ in our lives, He will manifest “fruits” within us—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control [Galatians 5:22-23].

Any conclusion we make about the nature of ‘man’, in human terms, remains circular when we use terms like good and bad. The Bible is very clear in its description of man’s nature—SINFUL. The Greek word for “sin” conveys not just the idea of transgression or violation, but includes the concept of missing the mark, of falling short of the goal.

What is the “mark” or “goal”? The Bible states that it is God Himself—or perfection. Many have fought this concept for many years, calling it demeaning, condemning, and morally snobbish—that man’s intellect as he uses the scientific method can bring solutions to all his problems and answers to all his questions. Man needs no outside help. He has in himself all the resources he needs. Humanism, as it is termed, also says that things will continue to get better and better—and requires “accountability” to no one.

One of the most powerful stories I have read on the nature of the human heart is told by Malcom Muggeridge. Working as a journalist in India, he left his residence one evening to go to a nearby river for a swim. As he entered the water, across the river he saw an Indian woman from the nearby village who had come to have her bath. Muggeridge impulsively felt the allurement of the moment, and temptation stormed into his mind. He had lived with this kind of struggle for years but somehow fought it off in honor of his commitment to his wife, Kitty. On this occasion, however, he wondered if he could cross the ‘line’ of marital fidelity—here in the ‘outback’, no one would ever know. He struggled for just a moment, but then swam furiously toward the woman, literally trying to outdistance his conscience. His mind fed him the fantasy that stolen water would be sweet, and he swam even harder for it. Now he was just two or three feet away from her. Any emotion that may have gripped him paled into insignificance compared to the devastation that shattered him as he looked at her. “She was old and hideous…and her skin was wrinkled and, worst of all, she was a leper…This creature grinned at me, showing a toothless mask.” The experience left Muggeridge trembling and muttering under his breath, “What a dirty lecherous woman!” But then the rude shock of it all dawned upon him—it was NOT the woman who was lecherous; it WAS his own heart!

This is precisely the message about sin in the Scriptures. When we look into the human heart we see the lust, greed, hate, pride, anger, envy, gluttony, sloth and the covetousness that are all so destructive.

We have learned to trivialize our condition. One of the most knowledgeable historians on the Holocaust wrote a profound article sighting every possible explanation he could come up in the attempt to answer the question, “Why did it happen?” The one thing the author did not mention was that the heart of man is desperately wicked and deceitful.

I think Ravi Zacharais said it succinctly talking about some surprising words from Hobart Mowrer, a one-time president of the “American Psychological Association.” Ravi commented that “the humanistic trivializing of wrongdoing is utterly bankrupt and incapable of expressing our real human predicament. An admission such as this from one [Mowrer] not sympathetic to Christianity signifies that the attempt to portray mankind without any transcendent accountability has inexorably contributed to our individual sense of loss and alienation. And once that feeling of estrangement is etched upon our consciences, we are alienated not only from God, but even from ourselves and ultimately, from our fellow human beings.”

The self-exoneration and self-exaltation come easily when we compare ourselves against the lesser standard of another, but the result is inevitably alienation both from ourselves and from each other. Conviction of sin comes when we measure ourselves before a perfect and holy God.

Jesus’ description of our hearts is in clear correspondence with our universal experience; a denial of this description flies in the face of reality and breeds contempt one for another. God alone can bring the kind of change we need.

We will continue to struggle with disappointment, anger, and fear. Change doesn’t mean that these realities will disappear. Instead, change means that we will become less controlled by these realities and more controlled by a renewed freedom and passion to be concerned for the welfare of others [Philippians 2:3-4].

Change won’t happen overnight—but imagine how different we could be in time. Imagine the rest and sheer delight of loving others that could replace the exhaustion and drudgery of measuring up to unrealistic expectations. This can happen as we learn to entrust our well-being into the arms of a merciful and loving God and the total acceptance of His Spirit.

The Bible says that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” [1 John 1:9]. No matter how much knowledge we accumulate, how technologically advanced we become, or even how good our intentions are, our sin ‘nature’, without the Holy Spirit, is always in control. It may be subdued at times; it may be controlled by sheer discipline on other occasions; but a time will come when these works of the ‘flesh’ will manifest themselves. But when we are transformed by God’s grace, they are no longer “in control.” Only by faith can one turn over their lives completely and without reservation to the One who can make changes that will be everlasting.

We “surrender” to things all the time. When we fly in airplanes, we surrender our safety to the pilots and the airplane. When we have surgery, we put our trust in the doctors that they will do the right things. God also requires our surrender to Him, if we desire the forgiveness, peace and joy that only comes from Him.

If you haven’t yet surrendered your will to the Holy Spirit, let me encourage you to do so today. You could be a world changer!

[Excerpts from: Tim LaHaye and Ravi Zacharias]

Blessings….
Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v44) for OCTOBER 2002

If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@ameritech.net

*****************************

The London Times once asked several eminent authors to write articles on the theme, “What’s Wrong with the World?” The Christian writer and humorist, G. K. Chesterton, wrote this reply:

Dear Sirs,

I am.

Sincerely yours,
G. K. Chesterton

*****************************
THE BUTTERFLY BLESSING
The caterpillar transforms into a magnificent butterfly
Love whispers,
“This is a blessing”.
Winter turns to spring, a seed blooms into a rose
Rain ends and the sun shines through
Nature whispers,
“Indeed, all will change”.
Listen deeper…
To the hope and faith and trust in what can be
If we believe.
We think miracles are rare and won’t happen to us
Listen deeper…
Spirit whispers,
“Miracles and possibility happen to us every day”.
In our caterpillar stage of crisis, fear, aloneness, and sadness
We think we can’t bear it, we won’t survive
Listen deeper…
The angels whisper,
“Believe in the Butterfly Blessing, Believe in the Butterfly Blessing”
[Terry Zick]

*****************************
CHANGE DEPENDS ON:
– The DESIRE to do so
– The KNOWLEDGE of what to do
– The POWER to do so
[James Emery White]

*****************************
SIN
All the battles that were fought,
And people trying to be free.
We live so much like hypocrites
We deny our own liberty.

We are happy with confinement,
Slaves to our sin.
We try to cover this up,
Phrased, “we are only men.”

We try to hide our sins
In places people might not see.
We take comfort in our closets
And tell God to leave us be.

How can we do this,
As we do not care?
We claim to know the father,
But don’t lift our sins in prayer.

Our flesh overwhelms our spirit.
We have no self-control.
Focusing on the sinless son,
Should always be our goal.

Sin shall not be our master,
The light shall be our guide.
A battle rages on in the soul,

O We try to run from God.
Something we can’t afford.
No one shall enter paradise,
Except by repentance to the Lord!

That day when I see Jesus,
Then I shall rejoice.
I long to hear his presence,
And then to hear his voice.

As I flee from Satan
To God I draw near.
“Well done my faithful servant.”
Music to my ear!

I will own no other master,
This is what I cry!
When temptation enters into my heart,
I will look up to the sky!
[Kenn Peck]

*****************************
The theologian considers sin mainly as an offence against God; the moral philosopher as contrary to reasonableness.  [Thomas Aquinas]

*****************************
My name is Chris Chandler and I’m an investigative reporter. Or at least I was. Until I found out that actions have consequences, and not everything is under my control. Until I found out that I couldn’t change the world at all, but a seemingly ordinary twelve-year-old boy could change the world completely–for the better, and forever–working with nothing but his own altruism, one good idea, and a couple of years. A big sacrifice—and a splash of publicity. That’s where I came in. . .

. . .I’m becoming someone who asks fewer questions. Not everything can be dissected and understood. Not everything has a simple answer. That’s why I’m not a reporter anymore. When you lose interest in questions, you’re out of a job. That’s okay. I wasn’t as good at it as I should have been. I didn’t bring anything special to the game.

People gradually stopped needing to know why. We adjust quickly to change, even as we rant and rail and swear we never will. And everybody likes a change if it’s a change for the better. And no one likes to dwell on the past if the past is ugly and everything is finally going well.

The most important thing I can add from my own observations is this: Knowing it started from unremarkable circumstances should be a comfort to us all. Because it proves that you don’t need much to change the entire world for the better. You can start with the most ordinary ingredients. You can start with the world you’ve got.  [Chris Chandler–Main character in the book “Pay It Forward” book by Catherine Ryan Hyde]

*****************************
To be happy, avoid sin; to avoid misfortune, examine your faults.  [Chinese proverb]

*****************************
Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition,
By that sin fell the angels; how can man then,
The image of his maker, hope to win by it?
[William Shakespeare]

*****************************
DEEP THOUGHTS:
“I thought I could change the world. It took me a hundred years to figure out I can’t change the world. I can only change Bessie. And honey, that ain’t easy either.”  [Bessie Delany]

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
[James Baldwin]

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”
[Joel Barker]

*****************************
*****************************
Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with!

Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
[Romans 6:23]

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said,  ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'” [John 1:29]

Mark

*****************************
*****************************
Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

<‘)))><     <‘)))><     <‘)))><     <‘)))><     <‘)))><     <‘)))><     <‘)))><

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: