What’s Wrong with the World? (Jeremiah 17:5-14)

Sunday 12/07/2020

What’s wrong with the world? Well, where to start! Everyone has an answer. And you don’t have to listen for long to get some hints at what someone’s answer is!

See, when we complain about this politician or that issue in our society, we’re diagnosing what’s wrong with the world. Now, of course, we realize that the problem is deeper than an individual or issue.

How often have you heard that education is the solution to the world’s problems? It’s certainly true that education has improved life for large numbers of people. But it has also created more opportunities to do more harm to people. We’ve made amazing advances in science, engineering, and medicine. But we’ve also made great advances in killing people. Albert Einstein once said something like this: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Being well educated doesn’t stop people from destroying others.

But maybe that’s a problem with our system. Perhaps what people need isn’t just education but freedom and better opportunities.

Yet, time and again, the revolutionaries who tear down the system set up themselves as the new rulers and prosper at the expense of the very people they promised to set free. As the Pigs paint on the side of the barn in George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Freedom and opportunity can make the world better for me but are often twisted to make it worse for others.

So the deeper problem, surely, is injustice then? Someone must hold the powerful to account!

But do we really want to be held to account for our actions? If a government wanted to know everything we did so it could deliver perfect justice, we’d call it an invasion of privacy! And when God says that He’ll give us exactly what our deeds deserve (v10), we suddenly get very uncomfortable!

The other issue with all of these answers to “What’s wrong with the world?” is that the factors we diagnose are different in different places and different times. Yet, the problems with the world are universal. So, what is the real problem with the world?

The problem isn’t that people lack of education, opportunity, justice, or freedom. The problem is people. The problem is us!

So what can we do about it?

  • First: Diagnose Your heart (v5-9)
  • Second: Hear God’s Judgement (v9-10)
  • Third: Receive a New Heart (v7-14)

That’s the only way our world will ever change: when we change.

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Published by Stephen McDonald

Christian, preacher, broadcaster

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