It is easy to become cynical when you study the history of humanity and, for that matter, the present life we are experiencing. People are mean and cruel to each other. People are selfish and prideful. I’m baffled at how anyone can live one day out among the masses and come away with the notion that men were born inherently good. That may be one of the most misguided statements anyone ever made with a straight face. Men and women are horrible without the saving grace of a transformed life through Jesus.
Romans 3 as it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away; they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good, not even one.”
“Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
“…For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
Without Jesus people consistently enslave others, are cruel beyond imagination, and cause us to shutter at the evil that can only be explained by forces of the unseen spiritual enemy we wage war with. I believe this is why when we hear the story of someone who sacrifices and loves others extraordinarily it moves us deep in our soul. A hero is a person who defies the crowd. One who stands firmly planted on the side of what they know to be right and decent. Even if they are standing alone, they stand up. They are people like Shindler, Bonheoffer, M.L. King, Corrie Ten Boom, Jim Elliott and countless others.
I’m writing this on 9-11. There are stories we know and more we will never know about people who selflessly gave their life for others on that devastating day in America. This is to honor them today, 15 years later.
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
(St. Francis of Assisi – 13th century)