I always love a good zinger. I heard about a great one that took place in the early 1900’s where “The Times”, a British publication, invited several authors to submit essays on the theme “What’s Wrong With The World?” One person who submitted was author and scholar, G. K. Chesterton. What I wouldn’t give to see the look on the editor’s face when he read Chesterton’s brief “essay”. Here’s what he wrote:
G. K. Chesterton
ZING!!! I guess that’s technically a reverse zinger, but what a brilliant response! Profound. Controversial. Biblical. Hilarious. All of that wrapped up in two words. I wonder if at first the editor burst out laughing at the idea of an older English gentleman, sitting in his study and smoking his briar pipe with a maniacal look in his eyes, claiming sole responsibility for every problem in the world. I wonder how long it took him to realize the genius of the reply. As a magazine editor, I imagine he had some life experience under his belt, and was probably all too well acquainted with the fallen condition of man. Obviously the “Times” people saw the insight in Chesterton’s response because they printed it in the article.
I’ve come to a place in life where I don’t think I will ever be really shocked by how rotten and evil people can be to each other, their environment, and to themselves. What limit is there to how low people can stoop? I’m not so sure there is one. I’ve arrived at that conclusion not only because I try to keep up on world news, but also because I know my own heart. I have a pretty good idea of what I’m capable of, and honestly, it’s not pretty. If it weren’t for Jesus giving me a better way to live, I’m sure I’d be spending a lot more time exploring those other possibilities. I think that’s what Chesterton was saying when he said “I am what’s wrong with the world today.” The wrong starts in the hearts of people like you and I, who were born with and corrupt and evil, bent inside. A basic belief of the Christian faith is that everyone is lumped into that category. There is no one righteous… no, not one. Not Mother Teresa nor Pope Benedict. Everyone falls short of the glory of God. What a different world this would be if everyone believed that! I’m not even saying if everyone believed in Jesus. If everyone believed that they are no better than the next person, and took responsibility for their own sinfulness, without blaming others people, other races, other countries, other belief systems, how much more like The Garden Of Eden would this world be? Of course this is an utter pipe dream. Call me pessimistic, but I don’t hold out any hope of that happening before the Second Coming of Christ. I believe the only solution is the love and humility of people who walk closely with Jesus. People who understand how desperately they need a Savior to rescue them from themselves, and the consequences of their own sin. People who love God so much that they want to see his Kingdom manifested here on Earth by demonstrating the same love they were saved by. People who influence their far-from-perfect-world one person at a time, in big and small ways. People who are convinced that the root of what’s wrong with the world isn’t bad government, other religions, or even terrorism – but that the problem starts with me.
To hear the song, “The Problem”, from Downhere visit this site.
This is part of a devotional series by the guys from Downhere. Each entry is based on one of the songs from their upcoming album, ending is beginning. The album is in stores September 23, 2008, but you can get a free download of the new song “My Last Amen” today.