Wednesday, August 23, 2023

A World of Selfishness (Ecclesiastes 4:1-6)

"Then I returned and considered all the oppression …" (Eccl. 4:1).

Who cannot be grieved by man’s selfishness? Stories of tragedy and oppression assault us daily. The oppression of corrupt national leaders, of murderers, of corrupt judicial systems—all remind us of the degradation of human nature and the corrupt principles that lie at the root of every society.

“A sinful world is a world of selfishness,” Bridges wrote. “Men—instead of feeling themselves to be members of one great body—each bound to one another in mutual helpfulness—live only to ‘seek their own’ (Eph. 4:16, with Phil. 2:21) at whatever cost to their fellow-creatures.”

To expect this to change by any other means than the transforming power of Jesus Christ is a vain hope. Yet, many people try to dry the tears of a suffering world by grasping at straws. A favorite solution to the world’s ills is education. If we can just inject people with the “right” information, or at least more information, their immoral behavior will be modified. Another favorite placebo is the pervasive influence of Freud, Jung, and Adler. Humanistic psychology wears the mask of a new Gnosticism. “Therapists” claim a higher knowledge and supposedly offer indisputable solutions to the ills of humanity. Only they have the answers, and you must explore your past, get in touch with your inner child, embrace the conscience cleansing (or searing) therapy of victimization to find peace.

Still others try to erase man’s selfishness by equalizing humanity. If everyone straddles the same socioeconomic fence, there will be no cause for envy, theft, or oppression—so it is thought. Such a philosophy only increases the very evils it seeks to destroy. Equalization not only goes against the nature of mankind, it does nothing to change man’s sinful disposition.

If we seek to deal with the injustices of the world by any other means than Jesus Christ, is it any wonder that we would come to the same despairing conclusion as the Preacher? All the methods and philosophies of the world cannot breathe new life into a dead soul. Only Jesus Christ can do that. Only He can bring true moral transformation. Only He can offer a hope that sustains us amid the tyranny of sin.

How do you try to change your behavior or the behavior of others? Do you try to get them to change by any other method than that which is prescribed in the Bible? If you want someone’s behavior altered, pray that God will change their heart, tell them the Gospel, and give them principles from God’s Word.