Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Romans 3:23

I wrote the following post after the Boston Marathon but never published it.  I remembered it this morning, though, as our nation began to reflect on the acts committed 12 years ago (has it really been that long?).  Thought it was worth finally posting since it's how I still feel today about our desperate need to seek approval that we are "not as bad as those people were".

This week, an unimaginable thing happened.  Two bombs were detonated near the finish line of the famous Boston Marathon.  As if I needed another reason (excuse) to not run a marathon.  All joking aside, this was another travesty in our nation and another time when I had to turn my TV off after I found out the details I wanted to know.  I know I can't shelter my kids forever, but I am just not ready/competent enough to explain these things to them at their age.  Charlee is terrified of so many things that I don't want to throw another thing in there for her to be scared of.  Now, if she were to ask me about it (I did have the news on while she was in the room.), then I'd stumble through the best and most comforting way I could manage.

After 9/11, I was glued to cable news.  I left my TV on all night and went nearly blind from trying to read the scrolling news at the bottom to make sure I wasn't missing anything.  I was in college.  I mean, what college kid obsesses about what's going on globally and nationally?  That's what 9/11/01 did to so many of us.  I'm at a different point in my life, I guess.  I want to know what's going on, and I keep up to speed on most things happening around the world, but I don't indulge in it.  I can't.  I don't want to feel powerless like I do when I indulge.  This is why as soon as I heard about the Newtown school shooting, I didn't watch a single news coverage of it.  I mean, not one.  We were resigned to Nick Jr. and Disney Channel.  (Who am I kidding?  That's what we're ALWAYS resigned to.  Ha!)  I knew the main details of what happened from scrolling through my Facebook News Feed that day, but I had a 4-year-old, 2-year-old, and a 2-month-old and couldn't let my mind go there.  Still can't.  Several Facebook friends have posted links to a video about Gosnell, an abortion doctor on trial.  I can't go there, either.  I know in the back of my mind what he did, but I can't watch it.  Can't even read it.  I read about him when he first went on trial, and that's enough.

Now, I feel like we should know about the injustices and evil things occurring in our world.  I don't know why, other than just to be informed and to feel the true weight of our NEED to utterly rely on Jesus.  I don't want to live in a bubble and believe that everything is hunky-dorey just because it is in my little world.  Going to Costa Rica totally opened my eyes to so many things in my life, in my church, in my country, and I think that was such an important realization that I will never forget.  I want to be sheltered, though, to all of this violence and mass chaos.  I want to cling to Jesus and remember that I do not belong in this world.  So, I guess it's okay that I don't immerse myself in all the negative coverage, right?  I mean, show me a story about awesome work that God has done.  That's what I want to see!

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, I have seen a quote quite a few times by an actor/comedian.  The quote basically says that we should focus on the fact that there are more good people in the world than evil and that we should always remember that we outnumber the evil ones.  He says that we wouldn't be here if humanity was inherently evil because we would have "eaten ourselves".  Humanity is good.  Take comfort in that.  Lots of people have been comforted by this quote this week.  Let me tell you something:  It has bothered me to no end.  Even if I look past the fact that he is a self-professed atheist and that he started the quote with an "F bomb", it is just not true.  Humanity is not inherently good.  The Bible specifically says that mankind is fallen.  We are sinners who don't even seek God, the only perfect and worthy One who deserves our utmost and constant focus.  Humans are selfish.  Yes, that includes me.  "But I'm saved," you say, "I'm a Christian."  If that's the case, then you only do good works through the Power of Jesus Christ through you.  You can't do anything good on your own.  It may look "good" from the surface, but you are not "good" in and of yourself.  Bummer, right?  Such an offensive thought for so many Americans.  "What?  You're calling Americans selfish?"  Why, yes.  Yes, I am.  So are Canadians, Italians, Australians, etc., etc.  Everyone is out for themselves.  No one seeks God by his own will.  

Now, the problem I have with the quote and with the entire sentiment that a tragedy like this brings forth is that it is an opportunity for our selfish minds to look at the attacker or the attack and think:  Man, something incredibly evil and selfish did that.  I could never fathom doing something so heinous.  For the large majority of us, we would never do or even fathom something so inconceivable.  Because of that, though, we will blindly believe that that makes us "good" and incapable of "evil".  This is just wrong.  While tragedies such as this cause an emotional reaction in all of us (unless we are just heartless), emotions don't bring about true change, true repentance, or true "good".  Emotions can lead you to church (this happened after 9/11 when many returned to churches or went for the first time seeking something to give them hope, peace, joy).  Emotions can't save you and make you "good", though.  Only Jesus Christ and His saving grace can do that. 

Where am I going with this?  I'm afraid that quotes like this and sentiments that we should "focus on the good in the world" will lead us to believe that we are not that bad, that we don't need saving because we are good.  Because if we were truly bad, we would be able to commit terrible acts such as these.  The problem with that is we ARE capable of committing terrible acts against a Holy and Pure God, and we do it every day.  That alone will send us to our demise.  If America doesn't realize how depraved the human condition is and how we are all destined for destruction by our own accord, then we will never see the need to turn to Christ, the only one who can save us. 

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