WHY JESUS DOESN’T HANG OUT IN THE SELF-HELP SECTION

When I was a little kid we had this long gravel driveway. I hated that driveway, because it had a ton of weeds. Once every few months, my parents would make me and my brothers pick all the weeds. We’d sit cross-legged and pull up the weeds, tossing them in plastic buckets my mom gave us. If we pulled the weeds the wrong way, my dad corrected us. “You can’t just pull off the tops of the weeds,” he’d say, “you have to get down and tear them out by the root.”

Because the problem with weeds is that if you don’t tear them out by the roots, they just grow right back.

I know that is a pretty obviously statement for anyone who’s ever done thirty-seven seconds of yard work, but I think we overlook this principle when it comes to the problems in our lives. I think we spend way too much time pulling up our “weeds” without ever getting to the root. We just pull off the tops of our weeds. Heck, sometimes we even trim them up nicely to look attractive.

What is our problem? What are the “weeds?” Guns? Well, you could take away guns and people still murder. Is the problem mental illness? Most of the killing done in the world is done by (arguably) sane people. Let me make an overly-simplistic proposition that will make half of you quit reading:

The root of the problem is sin.

Not “sinning,” like cussing at your kids or drinking too much whiskey or cheating on your spouse. Those are just the behaviors of sin. We can stop doing those things. We can even start doing better things. But that doesn’t erase our condition, which is sin.

Jesus is the gardener who can pull up sin by it’s roots. Jesus can erase the condition of sin. Jesus has taken chaos and is bringing creation back into harmony with God. Jesus will defeat every last inch of evil. Jesus will ultimately restore heaven to earth. There will be no more kids murdered, and no more tears. No more war or hatred. The earth will be unified with the knowledge that Jesus Christ is king and victor, and everyone will gasp, shake, and bow at the sight of him.

I hate saying that it’s that simple. But it’s true. I know saying things like “Jesus is the answer!” is the butt of all the hipster jokes. I hate sounding like an old fire-and-brimstone preacher. The difference is that those old preachers attack the behaviors most the time. “Don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t chew, and don’t hang around with others that do…” They’re still just pulling up the tops of the weeds.

Accepting that “sin” is our condition is actually really liberating, because it shows how we can (and how we can’t) go about fixing things. It moves us from a place of self-reliance to a place of dependency on Jesus. As long as we’re in self-help mode, we’re doomed. We can’t help ourselves. That’s sort of the point of the cross.

Don’t get me wrong, we should change our behavior. We should do good things. We should talk about gun control, and we should promote thorough treatment for the mentally ill. It’s just that those things aren’t the starting point. The starting point is this awful condition that the thesaurus just won’t let me call anything other that “sin.” That’s where we find ourselves. So what do we do?

Re-read the last four paragraphs.

Do you think that society’s problem is as simple as “sin?” (All viewpoints welcome!)

 

Comments (2)
  1. Jeff Karnes December 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I agree the core root of the problem is sin. The question is, what can we do about it in today’s society. You can’t handle it the same way that you did years ago because no one wants to listen to you. The sad fact about the world that we live in and sin is that so many people who call themselves Christians don’t want to call sin what it is.
    There are “Christians” who want a relationship with Christ (in the way they see it as a relationship) but don’t want to have to change anything in their life. They want to be Sunday morning attenders but not Christ followers. Then there is another group of “Christians” who seem to think that Jesus has changed his mind about what sin is and what it is not. Therefore, everyone needs to figure out for themselves what sin really is.
    The truth is, we can not have it this way and ever change the world we live in. We need to fight the sin issue by having a real relationship with Our Creator and Our Savior. We need to allow God to change our lives for the better. We need to realize that a sin 2,000 years ago is still a sin today and that we need to be teaching those things to future generations.
    I just hope we as a country, and especially those of us who want to see others live a Christian life, can pull together and find away to start helping the world become a better place.

  2. Mike December 24, 2012 at 8:00 am

    “Jesus is the gardener who can pull up sin by it’s roots. Jesus can erase the condition of sin. Jesus has taken chaos and is bringing creation back into harmony with God. Jesus will defeat every last inch of evil. Jesus will ultimately restore heaven to earth. There will be no more kids murdered, and no more tears. No more war or hatred. The earth will be unified with the knowledge that Jesus Christ is king and victor, and everyone will gasp, shake, and bow at the sight of him.”

    The condition of sin? Again, my rational side. We are made from the most abundant resources in the Universe. Almost 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of the six elements oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. We are a combination of chemicals interacting with one another, all-be-it in a highly sophisticated way. Can we call that which makes us human sin? I mean, if some of these chemicals didn’t exist, like hormones, then how would we reproduce? We wouldn’t. There is nothing shameful about it, it’s simply nature. There is no sin, it’s an illusion. People with their narrow mindedness find it shameful- it’s not.

    As far as society goes? Well, society is a joke. The monetary system is a make-believe concept yet everyday we hand over pieces of paper pretending they’re worth something. It’s a concept we’ve been brainwashed into believing by authoritative figures who took control of the planet and started charging for the land. Capitalists interested in nothing but they’re own power. The most valuable and rare resource in the Universe is knowledge and we as humans have very little of it. This is why we have to work jobs we hate and pray homage to something else in hopes that we’ll be saved from the seemingly shameful and dirty lives we all think we’re living.

    Jesus will destroy every last inch of evil? Well, first of all if it wasn’t for evil, Jesus wouldn’t be good. In fact, good wouldn’t exist at all. There is a contrast to everything. A balance so-to-speak. Just like there wouldn’t be happiness if not for sadness, sunny days if not for rainy days, etc. After all, the Bible says that God created Lucifer. The Bible also says that God knows everything and has known everything that would ever happen before it has ever happened. So, the paradox becomes: If God created Lucifier knowing full well the choices he’d make then why did he even create him the way he did in the first place? You can argue free-will, but com’on, free-will is an illusion if you’re created in a certain manner. If all of this is true then it’s quite obvious that God wanted evil to exist. Maybe it was so we could overcome it? Maybe it was because he wanted to glorify himself? Maybe it was because if not for the ultimate evil then how could the ultimate good, God, exist? You can argue that my mind isn’t the mind of God’s and who am I to question it, BUT, my mind is all I have and it’s insatiably curious.

    Honestly, I don’t want to serve anybody. I don’t want to serve God or Satan. I just want to live my life how I want to live it. If all of this is real, then I have to say that I just might agree with Lucifer when he said to God “Non Serviam!”.

    I mean no offense to anyone, these are simply my point of views. I don’t mean to cause dissension, but I am very independent in my way of thinking.

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