I was reading today in two different books. One is a counselor, and one is a psychologist, and both are Christian. They know both the Divine Romance (John Eldredge wrote a book on it) and the Human Comedy. Maybe because of their work among those who are broken and also admit it and their love of God they have reached the same conclusion.
Maybe They Have the Story Right
If you are like me, you have tried to live a good life. I chose to live it in a relationship with God, but many just want to be good people and do good things and leave God out of it. The question both John Eldredge and Larry Crabb ask in the books I am reading is: Is it possible to live a life of goodness without God? Of course, we can do good things and treat people with respect, but how is that done if we chose to ignore God. What is our guideline for what is right and what is not good?
We all have an inner balance system called a conscience. We may think the younger generation doesn’t have one because we see so much disrespect of others. All generations of youth have thought they were wiser than the previous generation, though I must admit that at one time there was a reverence for the wisdom of the aged which seems gone now. It probably has more to do with technology than anything else (the young know much more about how to navigate technology than the older generation) and the idea that knowledge is superior to wisdom.
Both authors agreed that the one thing many people want is restoration. We want our bodies to be young again; we want our innocence back, we want fresh air, clean water, good relationships, empty shopping centers to be fields once more. We want restoration. Do you feel it? When you think of what you want most isn’t it restoration in some way?
No matter what the scientists say about evolution, left to ourselves we head toward destruction. We do! Look around you! In the U. S. many have tried all they can to take God out of the equation of our lives. While once we enjoyed the freedom to speak of God and worship God, the powers that be are trying hard to put a stop to it. Humanism is disguised as Christianity; Enabling is considered love. Society is moving toward tribalism and barbarianism as news reporters distort the facts to lean toward their own views. Truth is relative, and no one knows what the truth is since there is now no bottom line. In fact, it feels like chaos, not order. People are willingly leaning toward slavery to a power that will promise them peace. Some see that power as government and some see it as globalization. We somehow think we are so knowledgable we can create our own environment of peace and prosperity. Why? Why do we think we can do anything when no one knows what the truth is and too many don’t care what is right they only care that they get what they want.
We need a moral code. We need a bottom line of what is the right thing to do. The old “if it feels good do it” only works if the majority keeps a moral code, If there is a structure to society, for the most part, there is room for some self-centeredness, but if the whole nation is into themselves and what feels good to them there is trouble ahead. Because what feels good to one may be disrespectful or crass to another, but if the individual is all that matters then…well, you get the picture.
If we are creating something and it gets out of whack as to how we want it to go, we can start again or go back to where the problem started and fix it and move on. But what do you do when the problem is worldwide with different cultures and people groups who have their own idea of how to live in relationship to the world around them. Who on earth could honestly lead such an affair? Humans are too greedy for power and control to be fair. We have already seen in this country what happens when power rears its head. We had slavery, and now I don’t know how to describe what is going on. It looks like tribalism and mob hysteria. We have gone backward. We are headed in the wrong direction, and no one has the power to change our course. It took us several decades to get to this point, but as we balance on the edge of destruction, I don’t see that we have decades to bring us back into balance.
There is only one way out of this, and it is going to have to be someone much wiser, loving, merciful, and compassionate than anyone we have seen or met on this earth to lead us.
All Things New
Nothing short of a miracle is going to keep us from the destruction that comes from selfishness and evil. There is only one miracle worker, and He has made us some pretty great promises. One of those promises is that He will make everything new. He will restore every single thing we are concerned about. He won’t be selfish about it or honor selfish opinions. He will do what is right and loving because He is just and love.
The only way to be restored is to go to God for restoration. It may not be a popular way, but it is THE way. It’s not an easy way, because there is a lot of weaning away from self-absorption, pride, and tribalism. Habits we have gotten into. The opposite of self-absorption is thinking of others, such.as in treating others as you would want to be treated not demanding that others treat you as you want to be treated. The opposite of pride is humility, which means you admit you don’t have all the answers and you need help in living a life that treats all people with respect and love. And when I say love, I do not mean enabling. God is love, and without God, there is no love because God is love. God actually has all the answers, and He is willing to share His wisdom and the mystery of His plan with us. The opposite of tribalism is unity. Unity can only happen in an atmosphere of love and respect. It doesn’t mean we are all the same and of the same mind. It means we have enough respect for others to let their opinions or ideas be heard and considered to have value.
I believe these two authors have their finger on the pulse of humanity. What we all want is to be restored and have our past redeemed into something useful. On our own, it will never happen. There is no person good enough, no leader wise enough, no system sure enough to ever restore and redeem the world. NONE!
There is a Person who has a plan to redeem and restore, and He is Love and Mercy, Wisdom and Power. I know the idea of a god seems barbaric or lacking in the knowledge that we have today, but when God is also creator and sustainer of the galaxies, then this God is worth considering.
What is worth considering is the mess we have gotten ourselves into and why we strive for something better. On our own, we only make things worse. With all our scientific knowledge we are moving toward animal extinction, a ruined, depleted planet, people fighting people over things as silly as opinions, relative truth that is spinning out of control so that we are wondering if anything is really right.
God help us!!