Tragedy is all around us. Every day there are seemingly new and more sickening acts of violence and hate for others. News broadcasters talk about "unimaginable" and "unspeakable" acts every day. However, mankind as a whole is better than this, aren't we? We will overcome this, won't we? The good people in this world outnumber the bad, don't we?
I don't think so.
You could never do anything like the crimes committed in the pictures above, could you? You couldn't purposefully cause an explosion just to hurt others, could you? You couldn't participate in mass genocide of a people group, just because they are from a different tribe than yourself, could you? You couldn't send people to concentration camps to rot, could you? You couldn't capture, enslave, and torture millions of African tribesmen, could you? You couldn't force entire tribes of people off of their land , knowing they would most likely die elsewhere just because you want their land, could you? Think about the people that commit these horrendous crimes. How are you innately any different from them?
I can't speak for you, so I will speak for myself. Could I murder, rape, or commit any of these awful crimes? Of course not! Right? The thought of doing that makes my skin crawl. Why is that? What makes me better than these other people? What stops the me that is only me and no one else from doing these things? Nothing. I have decided that there is nothing in me that makes me better than these other people.
So why haven't I committed mass genocide yet? If we take a look at the people who commit these atrocities, we find that most every time their parents or others around them didn't teach them to do right, instead of wrong. This makes sense. So if the parents would just do a better job teaching them, things like this wouldn't happen. Or if we could just get positive role models for young people, then this stuff would stop happening, right? Maybe. I definitely think that would help. However, the real question is, why do we need to be taught to do good instead of evil? A child, from the time they are born, only care about themselves. They will inconvenience and even hurt others just to get their way. A good parent or parents will eventually teach the child to act differently, and a bad parent or parents will just let the child go on thinking the world revolves around them.
Why is this something that needs to be taught? Why is good behavior a learned condition? I think we are all born with some wires crossed inside of us. No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter what religion you follow, if you are trying to do good things, as opposed to bad things, you have learned to do that from someone else. It is not of your inner self. The Bible calls these self serving things we do our "sin nature." This means that it is within us, when we are born, to do evil. In Galatians 5:19-21a, Paul says, "When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these." In order for good deeds to come from the inside, instead of what someone else says we should do, something inside of us needs to be fixed.
The only way I can see this happening is through Jesus. Yes, there are great people out there who do not know Jesus who do good things. (Actually I find many times that the most moral and socially aware people are not following Jesus. Shame on us.) However, all these great things that people do outside of Jesus have been learned. I want to do good things because that is what my nature tells me to do. I have come to find out this is impossible. The great news is, all is not lost. The Bible tells us precisely how we can overcome and cure this disability. Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." When you give yourself to Christ, and I don't mean just believe in Him, but but really give yourself to Him, you are a new creation. You are dead! Hooray! I know that doesn't actually sound all that great, but the incredible part of it is that all of the old you is gone (including the sin nature) and Jesus has replaced it with His nature. Not the power hungry political type of religion that alot of "Christians" claim, but a nature that cares deeply for the lost, the lonely, the sick, the hurt, the poor, and the hungry. This is corroborated in 2 Corinthians 5:17 when the scriptures say, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." Jesus has given us a new commandment. This commandment basically serves to put a sign on our chest, saying "I am a disciple of Jesus." And no, surprisingly it's not an "Abreadcrumb and Fish" t-shirt. In John 13:34-35 at the last supper, in one of the last commandments Jesus gives to His disciples, He says, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Let us, as disciples of Jesus, make a point to forget our differences and simply love one another.
The only way this world can hope to stop doing evil is to die.
We must let ourselves die, and let Jesus live and love through us.