- Published: 05 March 2017 05 March 2017
This is our world
© Warren Nunn
It is 2017 and there a number of matters consuming the world at this point in time arguably the worst of which is the dreadful and ongoing carnage in the Middle East and elsewhere in which individuals or groups use violence to achieve their ends.
That to them means they decide who should live or die, so that their point can be made; their means achieved and they—eventually—get to be in charge. Remember what the Germans tried to do in the Second World War?
Along with this, there has been a seismic shift in our culture whereby what was once considered aberrant behaviour is now decreed as normal and if you disagree with that, you are labelled intolerant; and all in the name of ‘tolerance’.
Hate and yet more hate; and the answer is love?
It is the most absurd situation. Some of those preaching tolerance become intolerant to the point of indignant outrage and anger at those who dare to even question their ‘tolerance’. They even protest on the streets carrying placards that scream “Love XXX. Hate XXX” and “Love rules”. Again, the contradiction is off-the-scales inconsistent. How can anyone demand we love one another while hating on another person, or group?
There is no logic to the notion that love will rule if we stop those we disagree with from being part of our society, or having any influence on society by saying we hate them and much of what they stand for.
That works both ways, of course.
What would those individuals who scream ‘Hate XXX’ say if an alternate group protested against them with placards saying “Hate XXX haters”. “Love rules!”? Of course that’s absurd. It just doesn’t make any sense, nor does it add anything to the public discourse.
What is clear in this situation is that one side doesn’t like the other. This is the stuff of childish schoolyard behaviour. I went to a small primary school which had two classes in each grade. I was in the B grade and I was always opposed to those in the A grade. I always wanted to ‘beat’ the As.
Was it ‘healthy’ competition? Probably. But what we see now is the next step beyond where that childish behaviour gives way to unhealthy anger.
“What the others say and believe is wrong,” says person A, “and it is so wrong I will go out on the street and protest against them.”
There’s nothing wrong with healthy debate in a democracy and it is everyone’s right to voice an opinion and protest against perceived wrongs.
What is acceptable?
But we have gone way beyond that. We now have a situation that when someone is deemed to have so wronged the perceived ‘acceptable norm’, they must be shut down, silenced, or even ostracised from society.
So who decides the ‘acceptable norm’ and what is an ‘acceptable norm’? It is actually a matter of what is right and what is wrong. And this is where it gets really tricky because whoever is making the case for their “right” way of thinking has to refer to some set of rules.
This is, in effect, theology because “right” and “wrong” are “moral” concepts based on founding principles. So we now have a “theology” based on a shifting set of “right” and “wrong” concepts and, increasingly, what was once agreed up as being “right” is being declared “wrong”. And not just “wrong” but subject to penalty—even jail—if you speak up and say the new “right” is wrong.
Why have we arrived at this point in history? We need to step back and look how many societies were founded on principles drawn from the world’s oldest book, the 66 books of the Christian Bible. And again, for many, this is where the divide is the most vocal.
Who is Jesus Christ?
Those totally opposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ, a real, flesh and blood human who lived, died and rose from the dead, reject some or all of the previous statements.
Some even reject the notion that Jesus Christ was a real person in history. However, Jesus Christ is the central person in human history and his death and resurrection are the most important events in human history.
Who you believe Jesus Christ was and how you react to what he said—and what the Bible says about him—determines just about everything in your life.
What Jesus Christ did and said is staggering. He claimed to be God incarnate; He claimed He was there when our world was created about 6000 years ago; He claimed that His written Word (which we now have as the 66 books of the Christian Bible) was sufficient to live by. And there are many other things He said, did, and taught.
And the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is full of teachings that will benefit anyone who follows them. However, we are not bound to follow them; just as we have free will to choose to acknowledge Jesus Christ the Creator and God incarnate, or reject Him.
Are you still reading?
So, what of any of the things that the Bible informs us about or predicts will happen?
For those who reject even the concept of a God, they probably would have stopped reading by now.
However, if you do read to this point, you should find the following helpful.
On the basis that the Bible is truth and does inform us about our world and human behaviour, I draw to your attention some statements from Romans 1 v18-32 which clearly describe today’s society and were written about 2000 years ago.
The following explains why there is turmoil in our society:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”
This is a consequence of rejecting God. Remember you have free will to do this but by choosing to do so you have set yourself against God and basically said to Him: “Don’t tell me what to do, think or say.”
However, the Bible tells us that the very world around and the universe beyond is ample evidence of God’s existence:
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
So, while we have free will to choose to ignore or follow God, there is no excuse not to. And the passage goes on to reinforce what goes on in the thinking of every person who has ever lived; they actually know there is a God but suppress that knowledge:
“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”
That describes the futile thinking of those who rant and rave about hate while on the other hand talk about love conquering hate. Those people claim to be wise and in effect are saying that their version of “love” is best for everyone.
Love conquers hate. But how?
But why shouldn’t a person’s overwhelming desire for love to rule the world against the “hate” of others replace what is generally believed at any point in time? Because it doesn’t include the God of love. Instead it’s replaced by their image of love based on what others around them agree is best for everyone.
Anyone should be able to see that is flawed. And it doesn’t matter if you follow a movement that’s based on God’s love or not, until you follow the God of love; until you acknowledge and humble yourself before the God of love; there will always be confusion.
Things will never be perfect and they will be far less than perfect while you reject the God of love, or follow any version or any cause that promotes people or a leader over being bound by the God of love and following the precepts set down in the Bible.
So what does a society look like that overwhelmingly rejects God?
“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
People do engage in all kinds of behaviour based solely on what pleases their every need to the point that it overwhelms their everyday behaviour. That is, they must have plenty of money, security, and have their lust for sex, drugs, power, etc satisfied to the exclusion of the next person, even their own family members.
While there is nothing wrong with living life, having money, security, an intimate relationship, etc, it has to be within some bounds, or otherwise, it gets out of balance when we pursue one or many facets of life excessively. It leads to all sorts of problems such as family breakdowns, financial disaster, diseases or drug dependency.
When you stray from the God-given path, you will encounter problems. Even should you stick to the God-given path, there will be problems but they won’t be as overwhelmingly negative as the abovementioned extreme ones.
Why do people indulge in excesses?
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
Is there a consquence for certain actions?
God gives us free will to indulge in whatever activity we want to indulge in but it comes with consequences. Should you have a same-sex relationship, or multiple sexual encounters whether heterosexual or homosexual, you will suffer in some way. You bring upon yourself a consequence of that behaviour.
Simply put, such multiple relationships are unhealthy. It’s not what is best for you; it’s not an adequate comparison but if you live on an exclusive diet of hot meat pies, there will be a consequence on display in your body and with your health. You will be obese and you will have long-term health problems the longer you stick to such a diet.
Similarly, if you continue with having multiple sexual partners, there will be problems with your health and they will be on display in your body. You will know you have a problem.
Why do people so indulge in such behaviours? Because we are all flawed. Why are we flawed?
Why do we get angry, have problems with our relationships, have disagreements with our workmates or with fellow drivers on our roads?
The reason is sin. What is sin? It’s rebellion against God and it’s inherent in every person alive today as well as those who have gone before us and will be born while and after you read these words.
And how did sin enter into our world. Surely a God of love would have created us not to have such a fatal flaw?
Actually, the Bible tells us He did. In Genesis, we are told that God created humans, the world and everything in it and all matter and He sustains it by His power.
Adam and Eve, our disobedient parents
That is a staggering claim. Yet it best explains why we are as we are and why the world is as it is today. Why? Because that once perfect world was fatally compromised when our first parents, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God. And the consequences have flowed ever since; murder, lying, stealing and broken relationships began thereafter as a result of that disobedience.
Search any time in history and all of what humans are capable of doing—both good and bad—are on display. There is never a day that goes by that someone somewhere doesn’t tell a lie, steal from someone, kill someone, brutally assault someone, scream abuse at someone, etc.
I think you get the picture.
And the very worst of such behaviours are described in Romans:
“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
It accurately describes our times
Notice that the above couldn’t be a more accurate description of our world today. How did the above statements come to be recorded thousands of years ago if not by the influence of a Supreme Being who wants us to understand what is going on around us in the world?
Is evil on display today? Mass murder by bombing or whatever method is rampant. Is that not evil? It certainly isn’t loving or good. Will a call to ‘love everyone’ stop those who keep on carrying out their murderous acts?
People murder others, they deceive others, they speak maliciously of others, they gossip about others, they hate God, they are heartless and ruthless to assess just some of what that Romans passage says.
And what of this statement?
“Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
Again, it speaks of the inner turmoil people bring on themselves when they suppress God. They know what they’re doing is harmful, that they are bringing condemnation and death on themselves as a result of their actions, but they promote such a life and approve of others who live in a similar manner.
All of that could suggest that there is no hope for anyone, particularly for those who reject God.
But we all reject God because of our sinful behaviour. It is the default position of being human. We are born with the capacity to both love or reject God. He gives us the choice and He gives us overwhelming evidence of His existence.
What drives you to do what you do?
It’s what we do with that evidence that determines how we live our lives and what happens when our earthly existence ends. And life on earth does end. Is anyone who was born 200 years ago alive today? What about 1000 years ago?
So because life expectancy is limited and we die from natural causes or otherwise, what is the point of life? Without hope, there is no point to life.
Why should I want to live, or continue to live, if all I get is pain and suffering? I may be comfortable enough in my white, middle-class existence, but what of someone starving in another country?
What hope do they have, if my hope is limited?
Remember earlier that I said that Jesus Christ is the most important person and event in human history?
What you believe about Him shapes the hope in your life and what happens to you after you die.
Those who accept Jesus Christ as an incarnation of the God Who made the world and sustains it are promised eternal life free of pain and suffering.
How and why? Because Jesus Christ made it possible by taking on Himself the penalty for our rebellion against God that began when Adam and Eve disobeyed God about 6,000 years ago.
That disobedience continues today. When Jesus Christ willingly allowed those Roman soldiers to lift Him up on the Cross, He made it possible for everyone to be excused for their wrong thinking and behaviours and to be forgiven and accepted into the ultimate loving family; God’s family where love indeed rules.
A true, loving family
You can’t buy your way into this family; you are not bound to join this family; you can choose to be part of this family or you can reject the notion that such a family exists.
But because the very opposite of what constitutes a loving family exists in humanity today, that should make you think that calling out “hate” against those who annoy you in the name of “love” just won’t work.
We humans can’t do it. No matter how well intentioned we are, we just can’t agree.
You may always have supported party A to lead your country and you would never vote for party B because you are repulsed by some of their policies. So what about those who are repulsed by the policies of party A whom you are sure are so wrong? What makes them wrong and you right? You see the merry-go-round you’re on?
So the only alternative is love. You want love to rule? But your version of a ruling love won’t necessarily look the same as someone else’s.
For love to rule, there must be a perfect love. Jesus Christ is that perfect love. It was His perfect love on display when He gave up everything to make it possible for those who hate Him to enjoy His perfect love in eternity.
Do you want love to rule?
So if you want love to rule in your life, only Christ’s love can fulfil that desire. If you have read to his point, the rest of your life is before you. Pursue Christ. Ask Him now to save you from yourself, to be accepted into His loving family.
Ask others about Christ. Keep asking until you find someone who can start to answer some of your questions. Keep asking Christ out aloud.
Say something along the lines of:
“God, other people believe you incarnated yourself as Jesus Christ. How can I be sure of that? Are you real? I want to be loved, to feel loved, to be part of a loving family. I can see that would be a good thing to pursue. What does that look like? How do I begin to understand all of these things?”
Start asking those questions and He will answer you. He will bring you into contact with others who will help you in your journey.
It won’t be perfect, you won’t find someone who has all the answers, but your journey will start when you start asking for help. He will give you answers and He will gently bring you along your journey.
God's gift of hope from the lips of others
It's important also to know that God uses others to communicate His message as a way of reinforcing what is in the Bible. Flawed people like me, who know they're flawed, and who are determined to share with others the love and forgiveness they have received.
My journey began about 30 years ago and I could not have articulated one word of what I have previously written in this article without all the steps that I have taken over those years.
But you have to take the first step; you have to reach out to God of your own free will. He won’t force you. But it is the right step to take and you will never regret it. Your eternal existence depends on what you do next.
Don’t delay; call out to God right now.