“Pride keeps people from seeking the truth about themselves. Many don’t like to consider their own depravity” (quote from “Open Windows,” Summer 2012, July 13). How true. Jesus made a statement in Luke 5:31-32 that we all need to hear. He was talking to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, but it’s relevant to all of us today. He said: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Most of us think we are doing okay and are relatively healthy, and that its the “others” out there who are sick and messing up our world. We think we are right and those “others” are wrong. Truth is, we are all sick–maybe not physically, but spiritually. The prophet Jeremiah made this statement a long time ago:
“The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
“ ‘I the LORD search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward a man according to his conduct,
according to what his deeds deserve.’ ”
This is why we need a Savior, and the Savior is not us. If you think that mankind is inherently good with a few bad apples thrown in, read the following with me written by Dr. Charles Swindoll on the topic of injustice:
The old prophet Habakkuk wrote relevant words of truth when he put this down in the first chapter of his prophecy: “Yes, destruction and violence are before me; strife exists and contention arises. Therefore, the law is ignored and justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore, justice comes out perverted” (Hab. 1:3-4).
The writer of those words died centuries ago, but oh, how his words live on! If you are even slightly aware of everything happening in the world around us, you know how up-to-date his words really are.
The criminal is now the hero, sadly misunderstood and mistreated. The victim is the selfish sadist who decides to press charges because he is bigoted, rash, or confused. The courtroom now resembles a stage peopled by actors vying for starring roles, rather than a dignified chamber of law and order: Judges and juries can be bought, bribed, swayed, or wooed, given sufficient time in the legal pressure cooker. Jury members, who used to be anonymous and sequestered in the name of fairness and objectivity, now appear on talk shows.
Remember that beloved childhood tale of Little Red Riding Hood? Well, if that scenario took place today, here’s what would probably happen.
After the heroic woodcutter rescued Little Red Riding Hood by killing the wolf, who had already eaten her grandmother and then tried to kill Little Red, there would be an inquest. At this time, certain “facts” would emerge. First of all, the wolf, prior to his execution, had not been advised of his rights. Then, the ACLU would enter the picture, maintaining that the hungry and needy wolf was merely “doing his thing” and thus did not deserve death.
On this basis the judge would decide that there was no valid legal basis for charges against the wolf and, therefore, the woodcutter was guilty of unaggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He would then be arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to ninety-nine years.
A year from the date of the incident at grandmother’s, her cottage would be dedicated as a shrine for the wolf who had bled and died there. Wreaths would be placed there in memory of the brave, martyred wolf. There would not be a dry eye in the whole forest.
If this were not so tragic and true a picture, it would be amusing. But frankly, I’m not laughing. Injustice isn’t at all funny.
Sometimes justice truly is blind.
Shouldn’t we be helping to remove the blindfold?
This was written years ago and things have only gotten worse since then. And it’s not just the justice system that is corrupt. The greed on Wall Street has crashed our financial system twice–on September 17, 2001, and again, on September 29, 2008. And Wall Street now has Washington DC in their back pockets (watch “Inside Job”–a documentary about the greed that crashed Wall Street in 2008 if you don’t believe me). That documentary will chill you to your bones. And it has only gotten worse since 2008.
Unfortunately, the corruption has spread into our churches (not all, of course, but many). Bigger, better, more more more. Jesus Christ is no longer the main topic. He’s hidden behind “social justice” causes or morality or pop-psychology or a myriad of other “gospels” (see my post on “Counterfeit Gospels”). The words of the prophet Amos from centuries ago read like front page news regarding many of our churches across the land:
“I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.”
~Amos 5:21-24 MSG
It’s not about us and how we can fix the problems in this world. And, it’s not about us turning a blind eye to what is going on in the world because we think it doesn’t affect us in our safe little self-made cocoons. It’s not about how much better we think we are then all those corrupt “others” out there messing everything up.
No . . . it’s not about us at all. And it’s pride that tells us otherwise.
Amos give us the solution: “Seek good and not evil—and live! You talk about God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, being your best friend. Well, live like it, and maybe it will happen. Hate evil and love good, then work it out in the public square. Maybe God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, will notice your remnant and be gracious” (Amos 5:14-15 MSG). But in order to be part of the solution, you have to seek the Savior–because it’s about Him, and it’s not about us.
The words of the prophet Isaiah ring out across our land today,
“Seek God while he’s here to be found,
pray to him while he’s close at hand.
Let the wicked abandon their way of life
and the evil their way of thinking.
Let them come back to God, who is merciful,
come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness.”
~Isaiah 55:6-7 MSG
Seek God while he may still be found. The opportunity will not last forever. Now is the time. The words of Jesus Christ are there for everyone who will come to Him, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). I like how “The Message” version states it: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
His invitation is open to all.
Don’t let pride stop you from accepting it . . . .
YouTube Video: “Takin’ It To The Streets” composed and sung by Michael MacDonald (Doobie Brothers):
Photo credit here