So what’s wrong with the world? Is it war, violence and conflict? Politics and political polarisation? A certain political leader maybe? Perhaps it’s just people. Are they less governed, inadequately educated and under-medicated? Climate change? We can all agree that 75% of what is wrong with the world has to do with the fact that a lot of people hate Mathematics. Kidding. Seriously though, Covid-19 should top the list of what is wrong with the world. Just look at the devastation it has caused. Maybe it’s just everything and everyone combined. Or just nothing? Everything is going great. Is it though?
The question of what is wrong with the world is something that all of us have to ask at least once in our lifetime. We look around us and everything seems to be going up in flames; heated political arguments expose how wide the chasm between the left and the right is growing. There seems to be no comprehensible bridge between the two as dialogue and compromise appear to have been buried in years past. All that is left is mere talk. Actually, it may be correctly labelled as shouting. If you want to see this in action, simply visit the comment section of news outlets’ social media posts. I recommend you have in hand a hot cup of rooibos tea as you do so.
Often times, when we ask this question, even when we do not say it out loud, we search for answers outside ourselves. Very rarely do we pose and answer by saying, as did G.K. Chesterton, “I am.” (By the way, G.K. Chesterton wrote a book with the same title as this blog. Be a good reader and get a copy for me. Hahaha). A good illustration of this is what happens when two people break up. Just see how one describes You are almost forced to conclude that one partner was the commander in chief of the lying, cheating and abusive armed forces while the other was Satan himself. Not to say there are no legitimate “bad” partners. Rather, it is to highlight that most of the narrative we hear about breakups is one party blaming the other. Rarely do we hear a person admit a relationship did not work because of their behaviour or shortcomings. It is always the other person.
Why then do we rarely see ourselves as the problem? Why can’t we utter the words, “I am what is wrong with the world”? I believe that, to a large extent, it is because we think too highly of ourselves. We think we are too good that we actually are. We do not see how evil and sinful our hearts are. Again, this is not to say that those out there do not have a problem. It is to say, they have a problem and we too have a problem. Probably an even bigger problem. In fact, we do not have a problem. We are the problem! Yes, you. And me. How can this be the case? Because “[t]he heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Your heart and mine are desperately sick. We have an inclination of doing evil and turning away from good. We are not as “good” as we deem ourselves to be. The people around us also, they are not as good as we think they are. You are worse. They are worse. I am worse. I can guarantee this one thing; whatever “level of good” you think I am; I am much lower than that. If you don’t trust me, get to know me more and you will unravel tons of sin.
A view that points to another in response to what is wrong with the world naturally leads to another question. If person X is what is wrong with the world, why does God, as good and powerful as He is, let person X do what they do? Why does He allow them to lead countries? Why does He let them harm me? However, if we point at ourselves, the question changes. If I am what is wrong with the world, why does God, knowing how sinful I am let me see another day? Why did He allow me to wake up today if He saw what I did and thought yesterday? It is in that place that we find His mercy and grace.
So if you and I are what is wrong with the world, then how can what is wrong be made right? Well, it is not voting for the right person during an election. In as much as leaders can have enormous power and alter societies in unprecedented ways, our hope is not that there will come one prime minister, president or whatever who is going to make everything right. Why? Because they too are what is wrong with the world. We need someone out of this world – literary, to come make what is wrong right. Dear reader, have you heard of Jesus the Christ? He said, “…I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” He promised to take the desperately sick heart and give us a heart that longs after God and good things. Do you know this Jesus?