Is the Problem Within or Without?

perplexedA series of quotes or quips inspired by the writing of John & Stasi Eldredge (RansomedHeart).

Spend a Weekend With Your Relatives

Something has gone wrong with the human race, and we know it. Better said, something has gone wrong within the human race. It doesn’t take a theologian or a psychologist to tell you that. Read a newspaper. Spend a weekend with your relatives. Simply pay attention to the movements of your own heart in a single day. Most misery is the fruit of the human heart gone bad. Scripture could not be more clear on this. Yes, God created us to reflect his glory, but barely three chapters into the drama we torpedoed the whole project. By the sixth chapter of Genesis, our downward spiral had reached the point where God himself couldn’t bear it any longer: “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain” (Gen. 6:5-6). This is the first mention of God’s heart in the Bible, by the way, and it’s a sad beginning, to be sure. His heart is broken because ours is fallen.

Any honest person knows this. We know we are not what we were meant to be. Most of the world religions concur on this point. Something needs to be done.

But the usual remedies involve some sort of shaping up on our part, some sort of face-lift whereby we clean up our act and start behaving as we should. Jews try to keep the Law. Buddhists follow the Eightfold Path. Muslims live by the Five Pillars. Christians try church attendance and moral living. It never works. It never will. For heaven’s sake—we’ve given it several thousand years. You’d think we’d have gotten somewhere. Of course, the reason all those treatments ultimately fail is that we quite misdiagnosed the disease. The problem is not in our behavior; the problem is in us. As Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matt. 15:19). We don’t need an upgrade. We need transformation. We need a miracle.

 
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