It’s one of those little fluffy kerfluffles of human philosophy, one that at least has the honesty to face the reality of we’re not home yet and try to make peace with it.
“Maybe it’s about the journey, not the destination”.
I say bogus.
I say the Christian life is about the destination.
(WARNING: Scripture ahead. I know some of you experience an instinct to kinda “check out” and skip Scripture because it’s too dense, too preposition-heavy, too hard to understand, it’s something you just plain don’t like, etc. DON’T. If you’ve honored me by clicking on this post, I urge you to fight that instinct. Read through the Scriptures. There are treasures waiting.)
I’m almost sick to my stomach right now.
Not from an illness, unless you count human depravity an illness.
No, I’m sick from seeing evil.
For some reason, the evil in this world has really decided to wave itself in my face the last couple days. I just got done telling our students in youth group how their generation was having a harder time escaping anxiety and finding peace than any in human history, and that part of the reason was how easily their Facebook news feeds bring evil right to their eyes. It seems that evil was all too eager to prove my own words to me.
Every evil from apathy to foolishness to desperation to sadism. Everywhere on the spectrum.
The cyclist who runs a red light on his bike, across a corner he can’t see around, and then stops to pick a fight with the motorist who calls him out.
The creep who prowls online dating sites looking for someone to scam out of their entire savings, leaving them to pick up the pieces.
The drunk who gets behind the wheel and barrels down Main Street with no thought to what lives and families he might shatter.
The company who afflicts their workers with terminal disease because they’re too cheap to offer occupational safety.
The mother and boyfriend who torture and kill their child.
The pimps who traffic girls of as young as three months old – yes, months – in the sex trade.
It can get really discouraging really quickly.
And on top of that, we have to deal with three very subtle, almost subconscious lies being told by our media and entertainment industries on the nature of evil.
1. It’s winning.
A funny thing, this January 1.
I can’t help but imagine the sun giving us a weird look right now. “Okay, Earth, so now you’re one degree further over and…oh, it’s a celebration for you this time? Umm…ok. Have fun, I guess.”
This is the day that most of humanity seems to connect with a fresh start. We’ve got a new paper book hanging on the wall with a big “2017” scrawled on it, so now we get to dump the last 365 days of failure and launch a new life. Or something.
A fresh start is a nice thought. Whether it’s from failure or from simply not being someone you yourself can like, the concepts of redemption and a clean slate permeate literature, television, and film. “Lost” was a great example (darn that show. YOU NEVER TOLD US WHAT HAPPENED TO WALT!!!! Ahem…). The idea of getting to become a better person calls to all of us. Even in the darker shows (think “House of Cards”, not that I could bear to watch it for long), we root for the antihero to experience that gradual turn towards the light. The theme is prevalent – almost universal.
Perhaps there’s a reason redemption sells.
The truth is, it’s speaking to a primal, unspoken truth running through the fabric of mankind. A fresh start is not a novelty. It’s not a fallback strategy, not a last-ditch measure, not “for those other people”. It is a necessity. For everyone.
Even for you, who think you have lived a good life.