Having A Will To Change

After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, the thinking was that more people would turn to religion. And perhaps they did — at least momentarily — to that brand of religion that offers gentle homilies and smooth platitudes while demanding no true conversion or spiritual growth.

That effect, like the effect of all self-centered and materially based religions, fades quickly, like water evaporating off the hood of a car after its been washed in summer. This writer hasn’t seen much evidence that more people are seeking genuine truth as God’s word presents it, or that people have been motivated to significantly change their approach to spiritual things. Basically, we remain as shallow and superficial a people as we ever were, which is really sad.

Human beings are remarkably reluctant to change. We manifest an uncanny resistance against doing or becoming anything different from what we’ve always done or been. Even the most horrific events in the world around us rarely improve us for very long. And even the sternest warnings of possible disaster fail to cause us to redirect our behavior.

Jesus once told His disciples that as the destruction of Jerusalem approached: “Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:5-8).

Did the Lord’s warning change the conduct of the citizens of Jerusalem? Did it turn them back to their God in great numbers? No, not at all — not any more than the warnings of Noah changed the people of the antediluvian world (Matthew 24:37-41) — and people today are no different.

As Americans, we have the desire to always seek the silver lining in dark clouds and the happy outcome of every tragic event. This is why we want to believe that the evil perpetrated on September 11, 2001 has made us a better country. We’d like to hope that out of such bitter catastrophe, some good might have come. However, for that to happen, we as a people would have to be willing to change our mindset — to turn from our worldly ways and become a truly God-fearing people (cf. Joshua 24:1-31). Unfortunately, that’s one aspect of our national character that seems to always remain the same.

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets