In the early 1900s, The Times newspaper put out an article titled, “What’s Wrong with the World Today?” In response to this, famous author G.K. Chesterton wrote to The Times saying these simple words:
Yours, G.K. Chesterton.”
How could such a wise and well respected man say this? Obviously he wasn’t the problem in our twisted and corrupt society. Or was he?
What if we were all the problem? What if it wasn’t the leader of our country, our government, or the celebrities in pop-culture? What if it was me?
Everyone sees the problems in our world; but not everyone sees that he is part of the problem. Could it be that we are all too proud to see our own failures that we only look out and see others’?
I was struck with this great reminder recently in a conversation. As a student at Moody Bible Institute, I often find myself in theological discussions or practical discussions contemplating the state of the church and our world. In this particular conversation, we were talking about problems that we see in the American church today. And as the conversation continued, I remember another person listening in to the conversation lovingly saying, “You can’t talk about the church and it’s problems without first recognizing that you are part of the church and you have your own problems.”
I was taken back at first by this, but then I realized the truth in his statement. In our culture, we are so quick to pass the blame to others and are so hesitant to accept the reality that we are part of the problem.
In Jesus’ most famous message, the Sermon on the Mount, he called out the religious listeners on this.
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5 ESV).
The truth is, we do live in a corrupt world. But that world is made up of individual people. The world won’t be changed by the masses, but by individuals. Why do you think the greatest leader in the world surrounded himself with only 12 companions?
So instead of asking the question, “What is wrong with the world?” we should be asking, “What is wrong with me?” This mindset is uncommon. And just like all Christian virtues, it’s contagious. We ought to examine ourselves, confess our short-comings, and “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).
We are the problem; but He is the answer. By ourselves we will fail. But with God’s empowerment, we can not only see the change we want in our country, but we can be the change.
What’s wrong with the world today? I, Grant Klinefelter, am.