No. We can’t. Let me explain…
A friend of mine one pointed out that this is one of the few Christian beliefs which can be routinely put to the test is the sinfulness of humanity. People are not good. Hard as we try, we are selfish, self-centred and proud.
Whenever we do something wrong, we reject God and His way for us. Because of this rejection, we are separated from God: God is Holy, and we are sinful (the opposite of Holy). We therefore cannot coexist with God, because we are at odds with His Holiness.
The way sin works out in life means that our entire world is a broken place.I think most of the world’s problems can be traced back to sin. An example: some suggest that burning fossil fuels to produce things like power is damaging the planet. I imagine most people would say we should look after the planet and reduce our carbon footprint… but we still want power to be available at the flick of a switch.
This is a selfish desire: wanting what I want, when I want it. Selfishness is sinful, because it is directly opposite the kind of selfless life God wants us to live.
The most tragic result of sin is death. We all die: all people share this in common. In some ways, death is a mercy: God did not wish any human to endure this fallen, sinful world for eternity. Death is a painful experience, as we grieve the loss of another person. I believe death is so difficult because, deep down, we all know that things weren’t supposed to be this way. We were never meant to die, but we do because of sin.
What can we do about it? Even if you don’t think people are sinful, you may still recognise that you, others and the world are not as good as they could be, and wonder, “what can I do to make this world a better place?”
There’s small things we might try and do: live a “moral” life, do our best to help other people out, be “good” etc. The trouble is, this has a limited impact, both on us (we all have bad days, after all…) and on others. And besides, if you set your own moral standard, who’s to say you’re “right”? I could be brilliant compared to my standard, but rotten compared to that of someone else! There’s no consistency.
Ultimately, only God can fix our problem. But that’s the topic of next month’s post, and I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
But how does this impact my ministry practice? Well, I meet a lot of broken people, and when I do, I find that one of two things tends to happen:
- They have accepted there is nothing they can do about their life situation, but are able to articulate to me a deep rooted faith which leaves me in awe! They have looked solely to God in their difficulty, and have found He has helped them;
- They have accepted there is nothing they can do about their life situation, but it is up to me to act as God’s mouthpiece to them, and try and encourage them to look to God for help in whatever they are facing.
As a minister, one of the most powerful messages of hope I can share with people is that they do not need to fix their own sinfulness.
Can we fix it? No, we can’t. But God can…