What’s Wrong With Our World Today?
By: Natalie Wiesen
October 6, 2016
One of the shortest letters ever penned:
“Dear Sir: Regarding your article ‘What’s Wrong With the World?’… I am.
Yours Truly, GK Chesterton”
It seems we live on edge these days, and the news is filled with many tragic and difficult things to see happening in our country and world. Issues around terrorism, presidential candidates, gender and sexuality, violence, racism, and the list goes on. We feel the moral decay, division, and danger all around. We sense our kids are growing up in a world quite different than the one we grew up in, and this grieves our hearts…maybe even angers us. Things feel chaotic, and we begin to realize we live on a razor’s edge. Shifting sand beneath our feet.
What’s wrong with our crazy world today? We search in vain for the words or categories to adequately articulate the problems we see all around us. Political corruption, poor leadership, economic irresponsibility, carelessness, hatred, corrupt agendas, racism, intolerance, tolerance, Godlessness. Lots of things out there. To be sure, these things are all indeed major problems. But they’re not the root.
The root problem of our world, as GK Chesterton said, is me. It’s you. It’s every human heart that walks the face of this earth, so thoroughly stained by sin.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened…They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator- who is forever praised,” (Romans 1:21 and 25).
The most grievous part about sin is that we exchange God’s glory for other things, and prefer created things over our Creator.
Our problem echoes from a garden where our first ancestors chose to go their own way, to doubt and then ignore the words of God, and to prefer something else over their relationship with Him. Their hearts became stained, and that stain would bleed into me, you, and all of creation, now groaning as in the pains of childbirth to be renewed and restored to wholeness again (Romans 8:22).
In 1994, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said, “at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” At the root of this philosophy is independence from God and setting ourselves up to be God. If God is not real, then Justice Kennedy is correct. If God is not real, then there is no higher standard of morality, no ultimate right and wrong, and no true accountability.
Yet, I would argue, everything in us knows that real Right and Wrong exists, especially when we or someone we love are the victims of wrong. As CS Lewis says, “Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be complaining ‘It’s not fair’ before you can say Jack Robinson.”
Contrary to Justice Anthony Kennedy’s statement, if God is real, then He alone defines truth, the meaning of human life, how He designed us to live, and the nature of human existence. We, as created beings under God, are held accountable for either submitting to or turning away from this God. It is foolish, even wicked, to stand against God and go our own way. Yet turning away from God is what we are ALL guilty of.
As Isaiah 53:6 says: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way.”
And Romans 3 tells of our sinful condition plain as day: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one…there is no fear of God before their eyes…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
For this one root problem, there is only one solution: God must provide a way.
If, spiritually speaking, we are dead and in prison and blind to our condition as a result of sin, then we need to be rescued. Who can rescue but God Himself?
“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God…The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us,” (John 1:9-14).
While God could have decided to punish us all eternally for essentially giving him the middle finger and going our own way, He mercifully made a way for us to come back to Him. Jesus, the God Man-fully man and fully God, came to pay the price for our sin. He died the death we deserved and raised to life, conquering the power of death and sin, proving once for all that He was in fact God. And He did this so we could be restored to intimacy and fellowship with our Creator simply by looking unto Him, believing in Him, and receiving Him. What unbelievably good news this is! It is the most gloriously significant and important news in all the earth of all time.
“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important,” (CS Lewis).
The problem with our world is the sin that stains me and you. No policy or president or social system or medicine can cure that root– only Christ can. As our society continues to march down a path set against God, I pray that people would increasingly come to know and worship Jesus, our only ultimate HOPE. I pray our churches would swell and our hearts would be revived spiritually. As we strive to make our world a better place, which we are called to do with every ounce of strength we have, let us humbly remember the root problem and bring the light of Christ to bear on every area of our broken world. And let us do this full of grace, love, compassion, wisdom, and truth.