Hi, my name is Meirav and I’ve been a human being for fifty four years.
That’s how it works, right? The first step? Acknowledging the truth, admitting your weakness, saying out loud: I’m one of those people…
I’m part of the problem – part of why the world is such a mess, part of why life has so much pain and suffering, part of why human society is not wonderful and full of peace and love and harmony.
It would be much nicer, and much more convenient, to blame it all on others: other people are mean, inconsiderate, selfish, greedy, evil – me, I’m nice, aren’t I? I wouldn’t hurt anyone… not unless I’ve been severely provoked… or I’ve had a really bad day/week/month/life and so of course I’ve run out of patience… or I just wasn’t thinking… and anyway, what I did wasn’t as bad as [insert name of particularly evil person who can make you feel like a saint by comparison]…
It would be nice and convenient and very tempting to look at the bad things other people do and pretend to myself that I’m really ok. Compared to a mass murderer or a child abuser, for instance, I’m literally dripping with holiness and kindness and hey, that time when I yelled at that person – that’s no biggie, right?
I was really shocked when I saw a news item about drivers who were caught doing stuff at the wheel that they shouldn’t, including one who was having a shave and one who was eating a bowl of cereal! How can anyone do that? Don’t they care about other people on the road? What will they answer the grieving mother of the child they’ll run over because they were so distracted and didn’t have both hands free? How could they… but then I remembered my own inconsiderate decision one evening to drive without thoroughly de-icing my windscreen – having partly cleared it so I could just about see where I’m going, then becoming abruptly aware of how bad my visibility was when someone crossed the road and I only just had enough time to notice. Those people I read about in the paper? Yes, they made some bad choices – but so do I sometimes. Behaving selfishly and thoughtlessly is not something I’m immune to.
Which is what I meant when I said I’m part of the problem – and so are you. We are all human, we are all capable of sometimes showing kindness and even some amazingly sacrificial love but we are also all of us capable of selfish behaviour and of hurting other people. We dream of a world full of love and peace and harmony, and yet none of us are capable of being totally loving to everybody 24/7. Nobody is perfect – we say this to one another and to ourselves as a way of making it ok, of making ourselves feel less bad about our selfishness, our thoughtlessness, our unkind and unloving behaviour and attitudes.
Well, I hear you say, what do you expect? What’s the point of beating ourselves over the head about it? What’s the alternative? To walk around feeling terrible?
No, that’s not the alternative I’m suggesting. Not at all.
You see, when I was faced with the horrible realisation of what I’d done that evening – that I’d made a selfish choice which could have cost someone their life! just because I was in a hurry and didn’t exercise patience – I didn’t wallow in the guilt and horror, but neither did I just put the thought aside, telling myself it’s no big deal. When I realise I’ve sinned I take it to God, facing up to the fact that what I did was wrong, asking him to help me learn from this and do better in future, and – here’s why I don’t end up wallowing in guilt – receiving his forgiveness.
You see, God knows us and loves us and he knows what we’re like. He knows we have this mixture of good and bad in us – he created us in his own image, and that was good, but then sin entered the world and everything changed, starting with human nature, which became contaminated with selfishness, meanness, greed, hatred, impatience, unkindness… He knows. And he sent his only begotten Son to die on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for the whole of mankind – through faith in Jesus we can have total forgiveness of our sins, assurance of God’s love for us personally, and his help to do better.
The world is a mess, and it’s because of humanity’s sin. We are the problem. And we can’t solve it – only God, who is holy and perfect, can.
The answer to the problem? Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. Put your faith in him and you’ll be saved, and then, as he starts to change you from the inside, you’ll gradually become less part of the problem and more part of the answer – less selfish, more kind and loving and patient. I’m far from perfect but I’m a lot less horrible than I was before I was born again – and it’s not through my own efforts, it’s through being exposed to the amazing love of Jesus and allowing him to change me.
The first step, though, is acknowledging the problem: my name is [ ] and I’m a weak and fallible human being, sinful, selfish, unloving… though I’m sometimes kind I’m also sometimes very unkind… Thank you, God, for sending your Son to take the punishment I deserve and dying in my place. Thank you, Jesus, for going to the cross for me. Please take over – I can’t fix things myself, only you can. I want you to be the Lord of my life. I want to live your way from now on. Forgive me for all my sins, and give me your Holy Spirit to help me do better.
P.S. But what if I’m Jewish?
You may be reading this and thinking, “That’s all fine but it’s not for me, I’m Jewish.”
Well, so am I.
And, more importantly, so is Jesus, and so were the first people who believed in him.
Find out more at http://www.jewsforjesus.org/answers
or at http://www.shalom.org.uk/library/library.html