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Friday, February 21, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Faith and Values: Peace, unity without God are futile

By Steve Massey Correspondent

Sometimes it’s asked in anger. Lately it’s asked in tears.

“What’s wrong with this world?”

As a pastor I hear this question more and more, because the mass shootings, political fights and moral scandals that provoke the question are happening more frequently.

“What’s wrong with this world? Why can’t people get along? How did we end up with such a fractured and divided society?”

What is wrong with this world is that its people are alienated from the God who created it.

Before I elaborate, let’s consider recent impotent attempts to create unity – to mend society’s fractures – apart from God.

Earlier this summer, Republicans tried to unite around the common cause of conservative principles. Yet even the staunchest GOP optimists would have to admit the Republican National Convention’s dismal failure to rally the party behind Donald Trump.

Unity, even among those belonging to the same political party, is elusive.

Turn your gaze to the Democrats and find similar results. The Democratic National Convention hadn’t even started before fractures surfaced over the selection of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders as the party standard-bearer.

Both conventions were, at times, painful to watch.

Attempts at unity apart from God often are painful to watch. This pain shows up in marriages, families, friendships… every form of community. It is a sad thing to see and experience man’s inability to create unity on his own.

Disunity is the dilemma of human nature. Leave the realm of public policy and turn your attention to athletics. Surely the Olympic Games now underway in Brazil will show us the possibility of unity among diverse people?

Like many of you, I love the idea of the Olympics as an opportunity for the world’s people to set aside things that normally divide us – ideology, economics, culture – and enjoy the universal human spirit in athletics. But this year’s summer Olympics, like all of them, has not delivered the ideal.

Before the games even began, fights erupted over crummy living quarters at the Olympic Village in Rio, allegations of cheating among athletes, and how best to protect spectators and athletes from Brazil’s infamous crime epidemic.

Even the opening ceremony featured a dance interpretation of disunity within Brazil itself. Its choreographer explained it succinctly: “We’re addressing the divide. It’s something we must overcome.”

Very frankly, friends, the human spirit cannot overcome disunity apart from God.

The answer to the day’s salient question – what’s wrong with this world? – is this: This world’s people are alienated from the God who created it. And any attempt at unity apart from God is destined to fail. Always.

This world does not need a common ideology, a common language, a common sporting event. This world needs to be reconciled to its creator – God himself.

Christians who find themselves angered, saddened or just plain overwhelmed by the bad news of this world’s disharmony do well to stay grounded in the good news: God has begun restoring this world by restoring people to himself.

This good news – the gospel – is God’s invitation for sinners like us to be reconciled to him by trusting in Jesus Christ.

Jesus stepped into this badly fractured world of ours and did what none of us could possibly do: He lived a perfect, righteous life. And he offers that perfection as a substitute for our imperfection, our sinfulness. Then he died on Calvary’s cross, taking upon himself the judgment from God that we deserve for our sin.

That’s why the Bible calls Jesus the Prince of Peace. He alone is able to give us peace with God.

And peace with God is the only hope for people craving peace with one another.

Steve Massey is pastor of Hayden Bible Church (www.haydenbible.org). He can be reached at (208) 772-2511 or steve@haydenbible.org.

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