How can ______________________? (fill in the blank)
How can those ISIS monsters do what they do?
How can rioters cause so much destruction and think it's helpful?
How can Bruce Jenner think mutilating himself is going to help anything?
How can people blame the police for everything, including biker fights?
How can people continue to slaughter babies in the name of convenience?
How can my good friend buy into every conspiracy theory, including his latest "flat earth" kick?
How can we keep electing the politicians we do? Can't people see who they really are?
The answer to all these questions is really simple. The World is Broken. Have you read the first few chapters of Genesis? God created and it was good. Man sinned, and it was broken. We are in a state of brokenness that will continue until Christ returns and the New Heavens and the New Earth become a present reality.
And that means that until then, people will continue to do broken things. Horrible things. Things that confuse some of us, and defy logic, and make you shake your head. It's a broken world, with broken people.
But here's the thing. You're one of 'em, and so am I. We're all broken. Have your read the first few chapters of Romans? All of us, every one of us, is broken. We all seek our own selfish desires. Some of us are bound by cultural restraints, legal restraints, our idea of moral restraints. But in the end, we all like sheep have gone astray, none seeks God, none seeks right. We are all broken.
I hear the arguments: But I would never do that! But I could never possibly...! But! As I once heard it put, the world is sliding to hell on their "buts." We may not all act in the most sinful way possible, but we are all equally depraved. The heart that murders is born in the heart that feels anger, Jesus said. The heart that commits adultery is born in the heart that looks with lust, He said. The heart is a deceitful thing, full of all kinds of wickedness, Jeremiah told us.
Here's another "how can..." question. How can a holy and perfect God, one who is perfect is righteousness and judgment, how can He know what you did/thought/said this week and still let you draw breath and escape His wrath? How can God not just shake his head at our stupidity and wipe us all out right now?
Because while the world is broken, God is in the business of fixing things. Jesus came to take the wrath we deserve, so that we might have forgiveness. It's an act of pure grace. And it's only His grace that separates me from that ISIS soldier, that rioter, that murderer, that...whatever. It's grace. I don't pretend to understand it. His thoughts are not like mine, His ways infinitely higher, Isaiah says.
All will one day stand before Him. The whole broken world. All will be judged. Only those in Christ will escape the flames. Pray you receive His mercy now and don't find yourself surprised to be in "that" crowd on that final day.
And for those who do know Christ, know His mercy and forgiveness: the next time you're tempted to look down your nose and shake your head at the sin of others, take a good look at your own heart, and thank God for the mercy He's shown you. You were born just as broken. God's grace has fixed you. How can He be so gracious as to save a sinner like me? His thoughts are not like mine, His ways infinitely higher, and I'm so glad they are!