Wednesday, May 09, 2012

"What's Wrong With the World?"

We should not ask, ‘What is wrong with the world?’ for that diagnosis has already been given. Rather we should ask, "What has happened to salt and light?" (John Stott) 

It takes a right question to unlock the appropriate responses for our Christian behaviour. Once, G.K. Chesterton was asked by a newspaper about the question: "What is wrong with the world?" Chesterton replied with his usual wit: "I am." To this day, that answer remains extremely memorable and also convicting. Instead of pointing out at the world outside, we need to observe the world going on inside us.

When I was a kid, my teacher would remind me about pointing fingers at others. She said: "If you use a finger to point at another person, remember too that the other four fingers are pointing back at yourself." It was a moment of learning humbly not to be too quick to blame other people. After all, what if we are wrong? We would be called hypocrites ourselves, blaming other people when our own house is not taken care of.

Why not ask about the world? The trouble is, the world will take care of itself. In a culture of everyone for themselves, volunteers are hard to find. The story of 4 men illustrates the world brilliantly. These four persons are called, Everyone, Someone, Anyone, and No-One. One day, a certain task had to be done, and Everyone was certain that Someone would do it. Anyone could have done it, but No-One decided to do it. That made Someone angry, because it was really Everyone's job. However, Everyone thought that Anyone could have done it, but No-One knew that Anyone would never do it. In the end, No-One did what Anyone could have done.

Likewise, when we start to ask what is wrong with the world, and expect others to do something about it, nothing will happen. Things will start rolling when we who ask the questions take the initiative to do something about it. Like GK Chesterton, and John Stott, the biggest challenge for us is not about what is wrong with the world, but what are we going to do about it.

p/s: Chesterton has gone on to write a book on the very question he had asked. It is available for free download here.

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