I’ve mentioned here and here and here and here that the way things are is the way things have to be, as they’ve been earned. The way things are is God’s perfect justice playing out in real-time. But that’s bitter medicine for most people to swallow, so they spend the majority of whatever precious time they have left here on Earth fighting the way things are instead of changing the way they themselves are. Even alleged Christians do this. (Even some born-agains do it.)
But the only way to change the way things are is to change the way YOU are. There’s no getting around that. You cannot make things better unless YOU first become a better person. That is Kingdom Law 101.
I speak without a filter here because we’re all born-again believers and we can take reminders of God’s Truth straight up with no mixer or chaser. I have no bedside manner and I sugar-coat nothing. We need to hear God’s Truth without hand-holding or hand-patting. We need to hear it the way Jesus taught his most loyal disciples behind closed doors.
We need to hear it the way God speaks directly to his people.
Yes, we want to mitigate suffering. Jesus first and foremost healed those who came to him for healing. But if you mitigate suffering without dealing with its root cause, all you do is push the suffering somewhere else. That’s why Jesus also warned those he healed not to sin again.
The root of all suffering is sin.
The Old Testament prophets were intimately aware of this. They were also intimately aware that the remedy for sin – especially backsliding – is genuine repentance (not lukewarm repentance, not forced repentance, not lip-serving repentance parroted on command – GENUINE repentance). Being aware of that the root of all suffering is sin, the prophets knew it was their duty to inform others, and they did, liberally, at every chance they got, and with no sugar-coating or hand-patting. They poured God’s Truth straight out with no mixer or chaser, like I do.
Most of them were ignored.
And there’s the crux of it – not that people aren’t informed and therefore don’t know the way to make things better; they choose to ignore God’s Truth and latch on instead to the devil’s sweet little lies. Because the devil, you see, will let you keep sinning. The devil will not only let you keep sinning, he’ll encourage and enable you to keep sinning and tell you you have nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to repent of, that your sins are not even sins at all, just your unique expression of your lived experience and a reasonable response to the pressures of life. He’ll assure you that YOU are the victim – always the victim – and so deserve reparations for whatever you’ve suffered. And he’ll also tell you that things can be made better simply with a change of government or a change of government policy or with a redistribution of wealth from the haves to the have-nots. These are just some of the sweet little lies the devil will tell you to keep you in your sins. And with most people, he succeeds.
Turning back to God is always an option until it’s not. The OT prophets were very clear about that, too. God’s generous offer to take you back is time-limited, so you not only have to be sincere in your repentance, you have to do it while there’s still time. God and God alone decides whether or not your repentance is sincere and whether or not you still have time to turn back to him.
There is not one area of your life that you can’t improve simply by choosing to be a better person. What do I mean by being a better person? Keeping the Commandments. Following Jesus’ example in everything you do. Keeping it real with God. Submitting to God, even and especially when you don’t want to. Getting back up when you fall. And helping others to get back up, while reminding them not to sin again. That’s what it means to be a better person.
Well, you say, I do all that already. That may well be, but perhaps there’s still something you’re holding onto that you need to get rid of? Remember Jesus’ advice to the wealthy young ruler who came to him for help? It was his wealth and ‘stuff’ that were holding him back. So Jesus told him to get rid of it. Remember the wealthy young ruler’s response to Jesus’ advice? I’ve been there. I know what it is to be told to do something I don’t want to do. I know what it means to say: “Anything but that!” But eventually I relented and submitted to God, in the process becoming a better person for it – stronger in faith, closer to God, and following closer in Jesus’ footsteps.
Who doesn’t want to make the world a better place? Jesus came to tell the world about a better place, but while he was doing that, he also by default made the world better simply by choosing to be the best person he could be. He didn’t waste his time rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic; he manned the life boats.
The world is the way it is because of the people in it. Most people don’t want to hear that, but we born-agains need to hear it and act on it. The devil will frame God’s perfect justice as being “unfair” and even unjust, goading us to fight against the way things are, which is ultimately fighting against God. Don’t fall for the devil’s lies. Jesus says we can help the poor anytime we want to, and so we can. But if we really want to change the world for the better, we need to start with ourselves.
Jesus never stopped demanding more from himself or from his followers during his ministry years. No-one got a free ride or was told they’d done enough and could just coast from that point onward. Wherever you are today in your Homeward journey, you can always become a better person. You can always one-up yourself. That is how you make the world a better place while also showing and telling the world about a better place.
And there’s no better time to start doing that than right now.