Don’t add stupid to guilty

How can anyone do such a thing? Have they no common human decency? What is the matter with people?

The more I read the news, both current and past, the more attractive living in a cave becomes. It’s disturbing and disheartening and downright depressing to know how horrible people can be to each other, some even as they present themselves as the virtuous ones. Unfortunately, living alone in a cave would not completely insulate me from the ugliness in the soul of mankind. There would still be one person there.

When I began thinking about this post, I intended to list some of the awful crimes and sins people have gotten themselves in the news for lately. But I don’t really think I need to make the case for how bad we are. We’re all familiar with various reports of murders, violent assaults, sexual abuse, and sundry other acts of wickedness committed by human beings in every part of the world. Non-stop news coverage gives us more evidence of cruelty than we care to countenance, and historical texts confirm that cruelty has always been common. As have lies, prejudice, intolerance, hatred, infidelity, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Does this bother you? Of course it does. Because we all know it’s not supposed to be like this. That WE’RE not supposed to be like this. No matter our worldview or religious belief, we know and bemoan the errors of our ways and the discomforting guilt we would like to be rid of. Intuitively we know, I should have done this…but I didn’t. And I shouldn’t have done that…but I did.

Sin spans time and territory, race and religion, but the remedy for sin and its consequences is singular and centralized in one time and place, in one worldview, and in one person. No other worldview supplies a solution to the problem of sin and guilt save Christianity alone. And save, it does. Save, HE does. Roughly 2,000 years ago in a Middle Eastern province of the Roman empire, God took on human flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth in order to deal with our sin and guilt. Because our wrongdoing makes us debtors and separates us from God, and because we cannot pay the debt ourselves, rather than having us eternally separated from him God cancelled our debt through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s death.

So instead of the eternal death, i.e. separation from God, that we incurred on account of our sin, he offers us complete redemption…total forgiveness…a transformative soul wash that puts us in a right relationship with himself and secures for us eternal life. But it is an offer which needs to be accepted and received. He does not impose it on us.

Why would anyone refuse such an offer? It’s free, available to all without qualifications, and never expires. Perhaps because it does come with some restrictions, and many would rather risk eternal death than give up their sin and autonomy, and eternal separation from a God who makes demands on them actually sounds pretty good. But such a view ignores important descriptors of this separation as torment, gloomy darkness, and a lake of fire. That actually sounds pretty bad.

But imagine a world where everyone is kind, loving, and good…and I do mean everyone. There is no crime, no immorality, no hatred…no lie is ever uttered, no body ever abused, not even an unkind word is ever spoken. There are no prisons, nor cemeteries…no hospitals or police stations…no gun laws, or guns…no laws of any kind because they will not be needed. All of these things are necessary in this world because of one thing. Sin. But when sin is removed, everything unpleasant goes with it, and what remains is perfect peace and endless joy. Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? That’s because it is.

Fellow sinner…you know you’ve broken the law. Maybe not criminal or civil law, but certainly God’s law. And you also know that in a just world the guilty are punished. Don’t be foolish and stupid and reject God’s offer of forgiveness which frees you. There are no words to adequately describe how sorry you’ll be if you do.