WHERE IS HOPE FOR A MESSED UP LIFE AND WORLD?

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You are probably familiar with daily news reported on TV and by various other media. What are your thoughts about what is happening in our world? Over one hundred years ago, G.K. Chesterton wrote a book titled, What’s Wrong with the World. Supposedly, a newspaper printed an article asking, “What’s wrong with the world?”, and Chesterton is alleged to have answered, “Dear Sir: Regarding your article ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’ I am.” According to the Bible, Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23, NASB). If we think our world is messed up, then we need to know that messed up people create a messed up world.

Let’s trace backward from what we believe is a messed up world to what many believe is a messed up America. Then, going back from a messed up America, many admit they come from a messed up family. Continuing to narrow our journey, we move from a messed up family to a messed up person – myself. How many of us think, like Chesterton, that we are what’s wrong with the world by contributing something to messing up the world around us?

However, we can be very reluctant in admitting that we have any part in messing up our world.

But I am not the problem, am I? Most of us put the blame on others for our messed up life or family or America, or world. There is truth to blaming others because we are often not the cause. However, we can be very reluctant in admitting that we have any part in messing up our world. When in grade school, I got in trouble three times in one week. I messed up other kids lives when I hurt them. I messed up the school environment because the principal and my teacher had to interrupt their work duties to deal with problems I caused. I messed up my family by causing them to take time off their work to get me back into school. And, I messed up my own life by earning the reputation of a troublemaker and causing schoolmates to want to avoid me.

Maybe we mess things up more than we think. Unfortunately, we are often quite blind to our own imperfections and wrongs. If I am messed up, it is someone else’s fault. If my marriage is messed up, it’s my spouse’s fault. If America is messed up, it’s the fault of the politicians. If the world is messed up, it’s those radical trouble-makers. If all of us were to maintain the blame attitude, and many of us do, then we spend our time and effort criticizing and trying to fix others, instead of first finding how to fix ourselves.

Getting our personal lives straightened out, by becoming less self-centered and more caring, increases our capability of helping to make our world a better place. Obviously, we cannot do it alone. We need the help of others to work with us in solving the problems of our world. One huge problem; how do we overcome the divisiveness that prevents progress? Jesus made it plain that “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25, NIV). This includes individuals, for we are divided against ourselves when we do not do the things we know to do. Given the mixture of good and evil within people, making the world a good and safe place could be an unsolvable issue for humans to accomplish.

Is there anyone who can solve the problems of our messed up lives and world? If Jesus is who he claims to be, the savior of our personal lives and world, then it is reasonable for us to cooperate with his program to restore our personal lives, and to create a world of peace. The fact is, he has already begun by changing those who follow him, and through the good works his people are doing all over the world. The Bible says evil is overcome by doing good, so whatever good his people and others can do toward making the world more orderly, godly, and loving; have at it. Jesus is with us in our labors for good, and his promised coming to establish his kingdom on earth will finish the job. We have hope.

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Jay Ashbaucher
Jay Ashbaucher is a native of Northwest Ohio and is currently a retired pastor and published author. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and has been a pastor and teacher in Montana for over 44 years. Jay taught grief classes in a hospital setting, and worked for twenty years as a fifth-step counselor and lecturer in an alcoholic-drug treatment center getting to know the hearts of people struggling to get well. While pastoring in Montana, he had enjoyed racquetball, hunting, fishing, and traveling the Big Sky State. Now living in Southeast Michigan, Jay enjoys his family, reading, hiking, golf, time with friends, and time with his fun-to-be-with wife. They have two happily married children and seven grandchildren.