While channel surfing recently an interesting coalescing of several stories all struck the same note causing me to realize there is a grand lie that society has quietly accepted leading us toward disaster. First, a political commercial had a gentleman sharing his political platform of free choice for the people saying, “my platform will work because people are by nature good.” Second, on a news debate a group of people, not the ones you imagine, were defending their way of life by saying we were “born this way,” and lastly, I flipped over to listen for a moment to an impassioned preacher exhorting his flock to “be you” and let the power of “I” help you reach new heights in your life. These three ideas are all fruit of a rotten tree. Each of these ideas affirm people are by nature fundamentally good.
The idea that people are inherently good is a devious and dastardly lie preventing us from personal and societal transformation and growth.
I know what some of you are thinking. How dare this self righteous preacher tell me or anyone else that they are not good! How dare he declare someone is a sinner! It must be nice for him to be perfect! Let me counter by saying, I was a broken, horrific sinner that needed salvation and to be repaired. I am still a man that struggles with sin and temptation, and I am still in need of personal growth. I am not even remotely close to o.k. with who I am. I want and need to be better.
Now, back to the idea that people are inherently good. My first response to that is have you looked at the world? Look at the hatred around us. According to www.warsintheworld.com, there are wars, right now, directly involving 67 countries and 716 militia groups. There is growing hatred stemming from people’s ideologies from various groups such as religions, ethnicities, LGBT supporters and detractors. How many riots and mass shootings have we witness in the past couple of years? Greed and abuse of power surrounds us. One percent of the world controls nearly half the wealth in the world. What impact on poverty could that 1 percent have If they would be selfless? Slavery was technically abolished in the United States in the 1800’s, but slavery is still rampant in the world. There are more slaves in the world today than in any point in human history. Slavery is legal in hundreds of countries, and there are an estimated 60,000 slaves in the U.S. Violent crimes do not even shock us on the news reports anymore as there are on average over one million reported violent crimes in the U.S. each year. One Gallup poll estimates that 26 percent of families will be the victim of a crime, and if you include cyber crimes, that number jumps to 46 percent. Nearly half of all families in the United States will be the victims of a crime.
Wars, greed, violence, slavery, hatred, crime…these have become so common we do not even bat an eye when they are reported in the eleven o’clock news.
Next, my second response to this idea that people are inherently good, is have you spent any time around toddlers? I have a two year old boy. I love, I love my son, but he is selfish. My son’s favorite word is “mine” just like most two year olds. If his sisters or parents for that matter, interfere with what he sees as “mine” he is ready for a fight. He hits and pinches trying to get his way. This is NOT taught behavior. He has never witnessed his mother snatch something belonging to another and scream mine. He has never witnessed his father punch or pinch to get his way. His older sisters, after much parenting, do not hit or pinch. He was born selfish. Again, I am not in any way saying I have a horrible kid. I have a regular kid, and like all people, we do not have to be taught to act selfishly. We have to be transformed into goodness.
There is a cute, but very misleading, meme circulating on the internet of a black child and white child embracing in a hug saying, “racism is taught.” If only that were true. Find the best parents you know and ask them about their children as toddlers. You will find that toddlers do not have to be shown or taught how to do wrong. You might think this point is cute or funny, but I assure you, I mean it to help us to understand the fundamental condition of a person is not one goodness.
Just open your eyes to the world around you. People making rude hand gestures to others in traffic. People speaking down to others like they are worms. People lying. People cheating. People hurting so many around them. If you really, really pay attention to the news and to the people around you, I feel confident you will see the truth that humanity is fundamentally broken.
Lastly, just look in the mirror, and allow your reflection to be honest with you, genuinely honest with you…
Here is why this truth is so important. If individuals do not realize that we are broken and bent toward evil, we will not seek to be fixed, to be made whole, to become better. If we accept who we are, we will never realize who we could be.
If you asked me the greatest danger facing us today, my answer is believing that we are inherently good, which prevents us from seeking the transformation from our own evil desires we desperately need. Society is on a dangerous path because it fails to realize the path is dangerous. It is time we discuss and discern the true nature of humanity. Not everything and every free choice is good.
I do not write this thinking or believing, I am better than you. I write this to tell you that I was a broken, evil person, who found a savior that made me and is making me better than I used to be.
In a world that is telling you how great you are, and how you just need to be you…I am here to tell you that you can be better and become something so much more.
If you are tired of embracing a broken, mediocre, you, but you keep embracing yourself anyway because the world says to, I am telling you that you can be more. I do not preach hell fire and brimstone to make people feel guilty and ashamed of who they are. My goal as a pastor is not to step on toes, but to free souls. I preach sin because there is a savior, Jesus Christ, who can break those chains in your life, forgive your sins and failures, remove your guilt and shame, and shape you into a brand new person who is good.
You are bad, so is everyone else, the good news is there is a savior waiting to transform your life, your soul, your nature, but first, we have to dismiss the lie of the world that says we are inherently good. That lie will blind us from our transformation in Jesus. People will keep walking in evil because they do not know they need a savior.
Open your eyes and see the brokenness of humanity. See the need for salvation and transformation. See the need for Jesus. If you are a Christian, fight sin, share the salvation of Jesus, and do not keep this truth of salvation to yourself. There are people embracing their broken nature because they have no idea there is a better way. Share this message.
If you are not a Christian and you realize that you are tired of being broken, I would love to share with you how you can receive the transformation of Jesus Christ into your life making yourself new and good. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The idea that humanity is good would be laughable if not so many people believed that lie. We need transformation, and it is truly good news that transformation is available to all, in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Truly, Jesse Colbert