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Monday, November 21, 2011

At War With Each Other

While riding my stationary bike the other day, I was playing a CD of Barbra Streisand.  She was singing a song called "Being at War With Each Other".  It went like this:

     Everyone comes from one father, one mother
     So why do we complicate our lives so much
     By being at war with each other?

     Mmm...maybe I'm crazy but I don't understand it
     Why do we seem to vote to dig more holes
     It's such a waste of a planet

     There must be a reason that I can't see
     Maybe somebody else now knows better than me....

I'm pumping the pedals, trying to get lost for 20 minutes while I engage in this minimal bid for exercise that seems so hard for me.  And I'm actually listening to the words this time.  If you are able to ignore her politics long enough to bathe your ears with her torch song mode and strong convincing voice, it yields such auditory pleasure.  But this time I'm actually listening to the words, and I say--almost out loud--Hey, Barbra, I know the answer to that one!  You're not going to believe it, but God has actually given us an answer in the Bible.  In fact the brokenness of human nature is one of the major themes of Scripture.

And then it occurs to me that my pagan culture does see the problem, but they are terrified to admit it.  We are all broken, and only the original Manufacturer is able to repair us.  And that is the story line of the entire Bible.  Part of that broken condition is the stubborn refusal to repent and cry out to God for help.  Like a foolish toddler with a kitchen knife, we'd rather do it ourselves.  So we go to 12 step programs, or to psychiatrists, or to the local pub and seek solutions.  Hundreds of dollars and years later we have only discovered there are a lot of other broken people out there to join us in our misery.

The Bible teaches us that human misery and human sin are related as cause and effect.  When we declare independence from our Maker, and kid ourselves that we can make it on our own, we become "square pegs" and it hurts when we try to fit square pegs into round holes (the world as originally designed by God).  But the problem is so much more than the logistics of square pegs and round holes.  There is a moral dimension.

We are not just "broken" but instead we are rebels against the holy God who made us and all things.  We find ourselves hating Him because He will not let reality revolve around our personal interests.  He wants us to be holy, loving and helpful.  We want pleasure, attention and wealth.  We want to be god.  And that was exactly the sin committed by Adam and Eve.  Yes, we all come from one father and mother, and that is only part of the problem.  They passed on to us those perverted chromosomes, and we are guilty, hellbent, broken sinners.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love toward us has made us alive together with Christ, and raised us up and seated us together with Christ in heavenly places.  By grace you are saved.  This is the heavenly position that is given to everyone who turns from his sin, and asks God to forgive him for Jesus' sake.

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