Filthy Rags

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Isaiah 64:6

Hours after the bombing that happened in Boston Patton Oswalt hit the internet with a positive message. I saw tons of my friends reposting it and sharing it on twitter.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in a while, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evildoers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

Touching words sure but here is the problem, they are simply not true.

Patton isn’t the only one, I’ve seen people I know, local newcasters, national celebrities all toting the idea that people are good, that together we can stop things like the bombing in Boston from happening. I simply don’t agree, I don’t believe that people are good. Not me, not you, not anyone.

Regardless of your culture, your creed or your religion I think the utter darkness of humanity is something that is easily proven. The easiest place to see this is the distribution of wealth in this world. Chances are, if you know me and you are reading this blog you live in the US and probably consider yourself to be low to middle class as far as income goes. No shame in that, I’d consider myself to be lower class too. I don’t have a lot of money but when you look at what I make and the opportunities that I have in life compared to the rest of the worlds population. I;m rich. Just by living here in the US I am a member of the worlds wealthiest. If you make over $34K you’re in the top 1% of earners. While we drive our cars and decide what we want to eat and do on a Friday night some folks are wondering whether they will have to drink water out of the same creek that their village uses for it’s restroom. Many will wonder when their next meal will happen. If humans were good this wouldn’t be true.

While we argue over whether or not same sex couples should have the same rights to get married as straight couples do there are women who are being sold into sexual slavery. They won’t have any rights at all. This still exists in this world as much as we would like to pretend it doesn’t.

I am not trying to downplay the heroism that has been shown in the face of tragedy at all, we shine under pressure there is no doubt about that and I am as proud as anyone else to see people risking their lives to help others. But lets take a look at our broken world and be honest about this.





We’re just not, and I would go even further to say that on our own we’re incapable of fixing the deep issues that our world faces. I’m pretty sure that if we were really up to the challenge we’d have made a lot more headway.

The Jesus that I know and that loves me has seen this trouble and has acknowledged it. In John 16:33 he says

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

When and only when we realize that we are broken and sinful, when we see and acknowledge the idols of money and power and entertainment and sex that we have built and turn from them can we be used by Jesus to help bring about the change that he started with his resurrection. The focus SHOULD be on God and his love for this world not on this world and certainly not on how great we think we all are. This world has an expiration date, and so do we. Best to use our time following the one man who has lived past his.



1 Comment

  1. Well put, and a good reminder. I think the world suffers whenever we take our gaze off of God. The weird book of Judges is an excellent example of this.

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