John Pearrell

In my last article, we began looking at the complex problems of our world and the issues the trouble us. I suggested that there really is a simple (not easy, but simple) answer to the myriad of problems we face.

As we concluded that article, I was using one example of a young man I identified only as “D” who had experienced this life-changing simple answer to the fires of hate in his own heart. D had murdered his brother. He was sent to our camp because the institution in which he had been incarcerated declared him beyond hope and beyond help and “sent him to us just to get a break from him.”

However, while at our camp, D came face to face with the Savior who loved Him and gave Himself for him. It transformed his life. We saw it, and his mother wrote to thank us for the sudden turnaround in her son. The institution, however, had a different view — our simple answer could not have been what D needed and now they would have to undo the religious damage we had done!

Just for the rest of this story, for two years they tried to undermine D’s new-found faith. Back then, juveniles were released from custody when they turned 18. The last I heard of D was that he was graduating from college and had been voted by his classmates the most likely to succeed! Christ had changed the course of this young man’s life completely!

The heart of the world’s problem is the heart of the world’s people. Scriptures, experience, history and Jesus all attest to this. Jeremiah, an Old Testament Jewish prophet who claimed to be writing words from God (not writing for God — there is a difference), wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, ESV).

I understand that many people refuse to give the time of day to Scriptures; they simply don’t believe them to be true. I find it interesting that many of these same people will appeal to the Scriptures to support their various causes (often without even being aware that they are arguing from Scripture), while at the same time denying that there is anything special about the Scriptures! These same people, however, often talk about loving Jesus, which is interesting since they then turn around and deny the validity of the very works that reveal Him to us! Jesus Himself said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (Matthew 15:19, ESV). The heart of the world’s problems is simply the heart of the world’s people; your heart and my heart.

Now, it is understandable why we find this concept so difficult. Our hearts are deceived. That is what Jeremiah said. It is hard to understand a truth when you believe a lie! It is hard for us to recognize the truth of Scripture when we are looking through the fog of our own deception. The Bible calls this deception sin. We tend to think of sin as the big issues of other people, not our own small failures and mistakes. I chuckle when I visit people in prison. Somewhere in our discussion, no matter what they are in prison for, they are going to assure me that they are “basically good people.” Sure they killed and robbed those people, but they are really good people other than that. That is the deception of the human heart speaking.

Sin is simply our insistence that we have the right to make the rules for our lives! Be honest, we all do it! The problem is, sin is destructive; it destroys everything it touches. The only way to solve the world’s problem is to solve the problem of the human heart. Psychology can’t do that. Sociology can’t do that. Laws can’t do that. Only Christ can do that. We will pick up on this next week.

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit www.gatewaycommunity.org or email john.pearrell@gatewaycommunity.org.

Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.