Take a look around, the world is broken. Be not mistaken, there are beautiful examples of life and love: joy, kindness, hope and laughter are all around us and there to be seen. But in the midst of it all is a deep and oppressive angst that we can’t seem to shake, no matter what we try. Crime, hate, deception, misunderstanding and greed continue unabated and unmoved by our attempts to eradicate them.
The last few years have been filled with lots of ideas of how to change things. Social Justice, calls for equality, raising the minimum wage, critical race theory, ‘wokeness,' an ‘end’ to racism; these are all things we hear about regularly. All are presented as ways to change the world for the better, yet they only tend to bring more division and brokenness without really changing anything at all. No matter how far we got out of our way to avoid offending someone, there is always something offensive said or done. No matter what we say or do the world just keeps spinning more and more out of our control.
Understand the Root of the Problem
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” - Romans 3:23
It shouldn’t surprise that things don’t seem to be getting ‘better’. As silly as it seems, we keep finding different problems that we want to address, and before that has even left the news cycle we move on to the next problem. As our society now has access and free time to scour the internet for everything that has gone wrong throughout our history, we are uncovering reasons to be outraged about things we may have never thought about before. The trouble is that while we spend a lot of time pointing fingers, all of us are guilty. We are all guilty because the root of all of our problems is just really just one problem: sin.
This problem overshadows them all because it is the root of them all, and it ultimately points back to us. Each of us. It is easier to take sides and run after every offense that crosses our new feed, but if we dig deep enough into anything, we will eventually find sin. Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden of Eden, sin has been embedded in our lives, and no ‘new’ idea or social reckoning can fix it. Only Jesus can clean it out.
Look to God, Not Government
There is a lot of talk these days about the idea that maybe a certain mix of God and government could be the solution to our problems. However, the Catholic Church successfully got a complete hold of Western culture and government for a few hundred years, and it only resulted in Martin Luther and people like him realizing that it was corrupt beyond belief, and actually leading people away from God, not to him. Bottom line – the ‘heaven on earth’ thing didn’t work out, and it never will. Are our times and our culture really that different from any time in the past, including the time when Jesus walked the earth? Are things really worse now than they were then? A close look tells us no. The Apostles also lived in a politically charged time, and the stakes were extraordinarily high. Like now, politics was a big deal in the first century.
There was plenty of hatred for those in governmental authority, and that was not unfounded: the Romans were ruthless, violent, and unrelenting in their domination of those they ruled, and even the Jewish rulers had no qualms in arresting, beating and murdering the disciples of Christ by throwing rocks at them until they died. So what did the first church leaders have to say about government? First, there is Paul, who was a Roman citizen in good standing. For the crime of speaking the gospel, he was arrested, beaten, and eventually beheaded. Paul said this:
"be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God" - Romans 13:1.
And then there is Peter, who would also be beaten and arrested for preaching the gospel. According to tradition, he also died at the hands of the Romans by being crucified upside down. Peter says,
"Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor." 1 Peter 2:17.
Now, I love politics as much as anyone. I have strong views of what American government should look like. I hate injustice, corruption, and I love a good campaign. Yet in my lifetime, there have been eight presidents of the United States: five Republicans and four Democrats, generally switching off every few years. That is enough to prove to me that neither side holds the answers to our problems. Should we drop out of the political process? Not at all. We should be actively engaged and involved, and honor everyone while doing it. Always for the good of the gospel, and with the knowledge that this world, and this nation, as much as we love it, is temporary, and is not the end result of our salvation. Not even close.
Pray and Search Scripture
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:6-7
How is it that the Bible can advise us to “not be anxious”? There is a lot to be anxious about! From our living rooms to the streets of our cities to the Capital, there are things to make us anxious! The obvious answer is right there in Scripture, and it is through prayer. When you are angry, pray. When you are hurting, pray. When you are confused, pray. Think of Paul, who had every reason to be anxious, every reason to write about the evils of the unfair government that was persecuting believers with no real cause. Remember that the world will persecute us, but that our hope and faith is in Christ, who offers us a peace beyond understanding when we simply trust in him.
The way to fix our world is simple, it starts with us and it won’t be complete until Jesus returns. Yet these are places we can start: understand the answer to our sin is in Christ alone, and trust him in all things. He is good, he is faithful, and his love for us is beyond anything that we can understand. This is not just a good place to start, it is a good place from which to continue growing into the kind of friend and neighbor we want to be and hope to find in others.
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Jason Soroski is a homeschool dad and member of the worship team at matthias lot church in St. Charles, MO. He spends his free time hanging out with his family, exploring new places, and writing about the experiences. Connect on Facebook or at JasonSoroski.net.