All facets of our society today verbally espouse and claim “goodness”, yet in their actions reveal and appeal to man’s sinful human nature. Our nature is not good – the Bible says it, the evidence confirms it, and even the “enlightened” do not actually believe it deep down. Our misplaced faith in mankind will be America’s downfall. Only debunking the myth that man is inherently good can reverse our nation’s current collision course before the Age of Decadence cascades into an Age of Decline.
How the Delusion Fuels our Demise
What harm is there in believing people are naturally good? It seems counterintuitive that assuming the best can be bad. Yet once a nation’s trust transitions from almighty God to fallible men and women, dynamics kick into gear that erode culture and threaten its survival…
- Faith – Living for the temporal rather than the eternal, the creature rather than the Creator, roots people’s purpose in pride, happiness and self-preservation
- Hope – Teaching children they are cosmic accidents leads to exactly what we’re seeing today…depression, drugs, suicide and virtual reality games
- Love – Inventing cheap imitations of (active) Agape replaces God’s love with (passive) political correctness, tolerance, appearances, and cancellation of “haters”
- Compassion – Encouraging transactional assistance brings acclaim and donations to charitable organizations, but perpetuates poverty and decreases dignity
- Leadership – Depending on government as “savior” eventually leads to control and bankruptcy, whereas godly leaders humbly and responsibly serve and empower
- Civility – Defining “family”, “truth”, “right” and “wrong” however we see fit results in social unrest, escapism, selfishness and lawlessness
- Morality – Having all the freedoms, possessions, conveniences and education we ever dreamed of has compromised our values, elevated our anger, cramped our schedules, and restricted our speech
Our post-Christian culture, left to own devices, will take us down the same road followed by all other superpowers in world history. The time periods and nationalities may change, but human nature remains the same.
How Christians Can Dispel the Delusion
America inches closer to the Age of Decline & Collapse every time another citizen buys the lie that man is inherently good. The clock is ticking. Convincing society that man is actually evil is the only way to save America from impending doom. But that’s not going to be easy. It flies in the face of everything Hollywood, universities, social media, music and politicians are telling us in this Age of Decadence. The self-aggrandizing walls they have conspired to construct leave no room for repentance or revival. Who needs Jesus when I’m “living my truth” in an identity bubble impervious to imposition of anyone else’s definition of “good“ and “bad”. With no standard for morality – enlightened, deserving, empowered and perfect just as they are – they must wonder why Jesus paid such high price for sins they never committed.
Yet there is hope. The onslaught of people-positive messaging has been necessary to sustain the delusion because a realistic self-perception lies just below the surface. Every minute that a person diligently pursues elusive self-actualization, he or she precariously teeters on the edge of self-awareness. In other words, while chasing the new American dream of freedom from moral restraint or remorse, guilt and shame are always nipping at their heels. Exposing someone’s true nature then should be as simple as convincing them to look just under the covers. The house of cards falls when they take off the blinders for a second and question the bill of goods they are being sold.
That’s why most non-believers push Christians and Christianity as far away as possible – to maintain the fragile illusion, retain the right to live as they please, and ignore their conscience. That’s why friends who don’t know the Lord often lose touch – typically you inevitably find out they went down a bad path. Being in the mere presence of a Christ-follower would have turned on a light they would rather remain extinguished.
And that’s why there is no need to confront society head-on with an “air war”, dropping verbal bombs, to destroy the delusion. The better plan of attack is a “ground war”, lovingly shining the light on man’s sinful human nature by comparison to God’s holiness. Jesus modeled and mandated several imperatives for making people aware of their sin and their need for Him:
- He demonstrated His power and Peter “fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’” (Luke 5:8)
- He showed His compassion and the leper “fell with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’” (Luke 5:12)
- He offered His forgiveness and “everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, ‘We have seen remarkable things today.’” (Luke 5:26)
Witnessing God’s power, compassion and forgiveness they came face to face with God’s nature and undeniably understood their unworthiness. Instantly, they realized being in proximity to Jesus was standing on holy ground. The Church is the Bride of Christ tasked with being His hands and feet, to carry on His work by the power of the Holy Spirit. But does stepping into most churches today feel like walking on holy ground? If not, why not? We represent a God so awesome in radiant brilliance that no one among fallen humanity should be able to come into His presence without confessing and transforming in the blink of an eye.
Our job is to reflect the Lord’s nature to the world to illuminate man’s sinful nature. To help us, as Christ-followers we are born again into a new human nature “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24) We are reborn and commanded to “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) But do we have enough counter-cultural courage to convey that transformed nature, one so loving and humble that those around us question their own “goodness”?
Good isn’t good without bad. Bad isn’t bad without good. Lacking examples of what is truly good (God alone), society in this Age of Decadence has deemed itself to be the epitome of “good”. Anyone denying man’s infallibility by criticizing someone else’s behavior is their definition of “bad”. “Tolerance is the last virtue of a depraved society” (D. James Kennedy) Before it’s too late, Christians and churches must expose sin and dispel the delusion as Jesus did – revealing His holiness by doing the opposite of what human nature typically does. However, our response to the “culture war” has looked too much like the behaviors of non-believers – and they expect more of the same. It’s time to invoke a Christ-like “shock and awe” strategy, loving those who hate us as Jesus instructed…
- Expecting judgement, surprise them with kindness
- Expecting confrontation, respond with service
- Expecting self-righteousness, give them confession
- Expecting hypocrisy, be transparent (otherwise people can’t see Jesus through us)
- Expecting retreat into our comfortable confines, take the Gospel out
- Expecting us to take care of our own, pour out generosity
- Expecting retribution on social media, offer forgiveness
- Expecting division amongst ourselves, show unity and love for one another
- Expecting self-centeredness, die to self
Frankly, it’s not hard to “compete” with human nature. People do what people do. They may say the right things and care for a little while, but soon get too busy or disinterested to keep encouraging or helping. They will make promises, but in the time of greatest need, usually don’t come through. It’s actually incredibly simple to stand out in stark contrast from the secular crowd. Just be the one person who stays by the non-Christian’s side when everyone else in their self-centered world disappears. For example, here are some equilibrium-rocking acts of kindness we’ve put into practice that you could try…
- Frequently visit an acquaintance you don’t know very well who’s in the hospital
- Reach out to the unfaithful husband all your other friends are condemning in a divorce
- Commit to coaching and supporting a single mom or dad who is near bankruptcy
- Every month, text and call someone you barely knew who lost a parent or spouse
- Offer to foster abused children
- Disciple someone you just met weekly over coffee or Zoom in response to God’s prompting
- Organize church workdays at an elderly, lonely person’s house and stop by on other days to talk to them
- At Christian holidays, have meals delivered to all your neighbors
- Write or show up at jail often for an ostracized friend who committed a crime
- Tired after a week of business travel, talk to the person on the plane sitting next to you and email them occasionally afterward
- When a neighbor’s A/C or heating system goes out, reach out to your contacts in the business, call in a favor, and get them fast service and discounts
- When someone’s son or daughter has surgery, keep asking how they’re doing for weeks afterward
- Organize a fundraiser for a family that cannot afford to cover a large, unexpected cost
Society envisions utopia but instead gets entropy because the only counter-cultural force in the universe is the sanctification of believers through the power of the Holy Spirit. Human nature doesn’t ever get better unless it is transformed by God’s nature. Humans take care of themselves and serve (transactionally) until life gets in the way. While the world is saying the right thing, do the right thing for a long time and, believe me, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb! People will feel like they are standing on holy ground when you act nothing like anyone else! They’ll wonder, “Who would do such a strange, odd, weird thing that no one else would do when I needed it most – well, apparently a Christian would”!
Be the only one still there when all others have ”left the building” and you’ll see your friend start to question their own “goodness”. Be the “pastor” of your neighborhood – who shows up, prays, consoles and actually does something about problems neighbors are having – and watch as they begin to dig below the surface of the world’s superficiality! They will only see its darkness if you reflect the bright light of Jesus. You can only reactivate someone’s dormant conscience if you give them a glimpse of Christ’s righteousness.
It’s Your Turn…
Provide examples of how you or your church have shattered perceptions of Christians as judgmental, God as non-existent, Jesus as unnecessary, and mankind as the hero of its own story.