One of the stickier parts of parenting small children is discerning when to tell them about the darker side of life. Sometimes the harsh realities do the teaching: the smashed opossum in the middle of the road, for instance, or the passing of a dear friend and neighbor. Other things happen organically- they overhear conversations about current events, read books or encounter difficult passages in the Bible. But sometimes we have to do a sit down conversation in order to prepare them for the awful things we hope will never happen: a fire in the house, or a robbery, or a kidnapping. Having to tell them that things like that are possibilities feels like a wrongdoing in and of itself. It’s marring their serene existence and robbing them of some of their innocence. Yet it must be done in a fallen world.
I think that our western society is trying to live in a fantasy world. It’s human nature to desire comfort but we have taken it to the extreme. We can have all apparent needs met by the mere touch of a screen; we can build our own virtual worlds; and we can customize everything to our own unique preferences. We rarely have to say no to ourselves. The problem with this amazing system is that it allows us to pretend that evil doesn’t exist even though it is on a rampage just outside our door. We use big, sterile words that mask what really happens or we assume someone else will take care of it; we see lives fit into an Insta-square or summed up in a 10 second story and we tell ourselves they’re ok; we click on the angry emoji for the bad news that’s shared and feel like we have done our part. But have we REALLY. DONE. SOMETHING?
I understand how overwhelming it is to see evil for what it is. It is much easier to quickly acknowledge it’s there and then resume living in our happy places. Besides, what can we really do anyway? Our own daily problems demand every ounce of energy we have; we don’t have surplus to spare on world problems, right? Perhaps if we listed some of those big, sterile words and then defined them we would see things a bit differently. Read this list and force yourself to see the actions summed up in the word:
All of these and more fall under that neat little word called sin. It’s the perfect gloss for the depravity of human nature. We can nod and admit we have sin in our life and then resume our merry way. But is that what we are supposed to do? With today being Good Friday, this is the ideal time to consider the example of Jesus. He had no sin but during His earthly journey He confronted sin in its most raw form and in the end became sin for our sakes. Let us live as He did: let us remove the gloss, confront the vileness in and around our lives, love our neighbor to the point of sacrifice and, with Christ’s help, change the world- one rescued soul at a time.