The more you know...(remember those commercials on NBC back in the 90s?)
Knowledge is power, we're taught. So let me ask you how powerful knowledge makes you.
When you learned that Omar Mateen shot up a nightclub in Florida and killed a bunch of people, what power did you gain? When police officers in Baton Rouge were viciously gunned down by a man who planned their assassination, did that make you feel powerful? When you learned about a French pastor's throat being sliced during church services, did that empower you? Do you feel like the knowledge of all the evil in the world is making you smarter every day?
If you're like me, you probably read stuff like that and countless other things like that, and you wonder if this world is spinning out of control! Things just seem to be getting worse and worse.
Could you imagine, then, what it must be like to be God? Imagine this from his perspective. He knows every act of violence. He hears every word spoken in anger. He knows the thoughts and attitudes inside a person's head and heart. He watches as people slaughter the innocent, steal from the vulnerable, cheat their neighbor and lie through their teeth. God has the front row seat on all of mankind's wickedness and evil.
But we see just a sliver of the wickedness of mankind and we recoil with horror. "This world is getting out of hand!" Getting? Folks, it's been like this ever since mankind ventured out of the Garden of Eden. You will recall that the very next story after Adam and Eve leave the Garden of Eden is of their own son murdering their other son. No one had to teach Cain how to commit murder, that came from his own evil twisted heart. This world's been "out of control" for millennia. "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil ALL THE TIME." That's from Genesis 6--we haven't even made it 10 chapters in the Bible and already the story of man is one of sin, rebellion, murder, theft and on and on and on.
I think the reason we are so appalled at all this evil we see is that we notice it more than we ever have before. Not too long ago, we got our news from the newspaper--a once per day review of the world's happenings. Then TV evening news. Then the 24 hour news cycle. Now news is constant on our devices. Facebook "pings" or I get a tweet to let me know something important is happening and I reflexively check it. Often, the news is not good. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, just a sliver of humanity's woe, and that is enough for me to be totally disgusted with sin.
Our reaction to this knowledge is horror, disappointment, a lot of wringing of the hands, letters to the editor advocating human solutions. Our solution is to worry for ourselves, but especially for our children. "What kind of world are they inheriting?" Our solution is to put things into a different context. To read the stories that only make us feel better. To listen to a narrative that agrees with our thinking.
God's solution is totally non-human: "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Let me back up...
"You see, at just the right time, WHEN WE WERE STILL POWERLESS, Christ died for the UNgodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US." That's from Romans 5. God looks upon a world of powerless, unrighteous, sinful people and he is not disappointed, he is not appalled or disgusted. His heart aches with love. His affection for his poor children surrounds us, and in love he provides the way out of human misery and sin: the death of Christ. The greatest human tragedy is also the greatest triumph of a man: Jesus Christ was sacrificed on a cross to be punished in our place. His death pays for humanity's wickedness. His death frees us from our sin and opens the way to eternal life.
God knows us. And the more God knows us the more he loves us. That's the knowledge that, if you have it, you have the greatest power known to man. You have through that knowledge the power of life, the power of forgiveness, the power to love, the power to live a better life, the power to live eternally. And that knowledge surpasses all, even the evil. Know it more!
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