You know, this world is ugly. Really ugly. I don’t know if my heightened awareness of this is due to my reading The Screwtape Letters again, or maybe just the mood I’m in, or the correlated ongoing state of frequently feeling so depleted…
Or maybe this is just how it is.
The hatred spewed from mouths of many, directed at their perceived enemies; the gorging of gluttony, the never-satisfied, ever-increasing pursuit of fulfilling lusts; rampant, uncontrolled greed, at the uncaring expense of a neighbor, no, all neighbors; and just the general devaluing of ourselves and everyone around us that can lead to all kinds of abuses, including sexual abuse of young girls.
I have young girls. Some stories I have read lately simultaneously turn my stomach, and anger me greatly. It’s really awful how disgustingly we can treat each other. My words here are not strong enough.
I deeply wish—often—that my kids did not have to grow up in and be part of this world. But they are. They do.
So it’s true then, what Paul said about us, while quoting some Old Testament scriptures:
“No one is righteous—
not even one.
No one is truly wise;
no one is seeking God.
All have turned away;
all have become useless.
No one does good,
not a single one.”
“Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
Their tongues are filled with lies.”
“Snake venom drips from their lips.”
“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
“They rush to commit murder.
Destruction and misery always follow them.
They don’t know where to find peace.”
“They have no fear of God at all.”
There’s a whole bunch more from the first chapter of Romans. Listen to this paragraph:
Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
But I love what Paul follows that with, saying directly after that:
You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.
It’s awful dangerous when we notice the darkness of other people, but forget to acknowledge our own.
The world is ugly, because we are ugly.
I have not been personal witness to some of the ugliest things that one might encounter in this world. (Like murder, sexual abuse, and similar horrible, awful things we do to each other.) I think this helps me to maintain a false distance from the grotesque darkness of us. Of me. Thankfully, and so graciously, Jesus continues to build in me the desires that match his, and my inner light shines brighter with his resident spirit inside me—but I am far from perfect. I know darkness inside me, too.
But thanks be to God, our savior, through Jesus Christ our lord.
Yes. And we do have the victory, we’re “more than conquerors” … that just seems so far off sometimes.
Sounds like I need a good read through the book of Romans. What a great overview of the world as it is, through God’s eyes, and how it will be redeemed.
Boy do we need it.
Remember that Jesus is the light. Stick close to him, through whatever darkness you are in, or may find yourself in. He will walk through it with you.
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
2 Peter 1:2-7
May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.