For Christmas Jeremiah got me the book, Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller. He describes his book as "Nonreligious thoughts on Christian Spirituality". We are reading it together at night after the kids are asleep. So far, several thoughts have resonated with me. It seems like each chapter covers an issue Miller grappled with regarding spirituality. In chapter two, Miller writes about the depravity of man. He shares the story of his watching the news at night and hearing of the atrocities happening in the African Congo. He shares these things with a friend over coffee and they have a conversation about it in which they start to say things like, "I can't get my mind around it. I keep wondering how people could do things like that."
Later on in the conversation his friend asks him, "Do you think you could do something like that? Are you capable of murder or rape or any of the stuff that is taking place over there?"
"So you are not capable of any of those things?"
"No, I couldn't" "What are you getting at?"
"I just want to know what makes those guys over there any different from you and me. They are human. We are human. Why are we any better than them, you know?"
"He had me on this one. If I answered his question by saying yes, I could commit those atrocities, that would make me evil, but if I answered no, it would suggest that I am better evolved that some of the men in the Congo. And then I would have some explaining to do."
"Actually,"I told him reluctantly, "I have always agreed with the idea that we have a sin nature. I buy the idea we are flawed, that there is something in us that is broken."
Later on in the chapter he writes of a protest he was a part of. After the protest he wonders if he had actually accomplished anything? Could they actually change the world? Sure, they could elect different representatives and that sort of thing. But the underlying problem was not a certain type of legislation or even a certain politician; the problem is the same that it has always been.
I AM THE PROBLEM.
"I don't have to watch the evening news to see that the world is bad, I only have to look at myself. I am not browbeating myself here; I am only saying that true change, true life-giving, God-honoring change would have to start with the individual. I was the very problem I was protesting. I wanted to make a sign that read "I AM THE PROBLEM!"
"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure." Jeremiah 17:9
Now, I know this might come across as a depressing blog. But, for me...someone who was raised in the church and accepted Christ as a child. Someone who is now a pastors wife and involved in active ministry. This is something that is easy for me to forget... just how desperately I need the Lord. That apart from Him I have no hope, no purpose, and not even the possibility of true peace.
This is worth reflection.
Out of this reflection bubbles up a humbling gratitude for what the Lord has done for me. Done for everyone. He offers the answer to my depravity. He offers hope, purpose, and peace. This is the farthest thing from depressing! Praise you Lord!