In the past few years, there have been shocking revelations and controversies that cast a dark shadow on the legacies of individuals and institutions we’ve honored and celebrated in society. From Hulk Hogan with racism and Bill Cosby with rape allegations, to educational institutions like Harvard and Yale with vestiges of slavery still on their campuses, society was reminded that history displays a mix of honor and dishonor.
Coming to grips with the reality that not everything we see is as awesome as it seems, whether in this present day or historically, is one of the hardest truths that we as human beings have to learn.
When we’re young, we have an idealistic view of the world. We all have our heroes in life, people that we grew up celebrating because of their positive impact on our lives. Whether it’s a famous celebrity, a pastor, or it’s your own parents, you see the good things they do and gain such an inspiration from them. You may see the evil in the world, yet hope to change the world for the better in spite of it!
Then you get older. You gain a greater understanding of the historical precedence and source of things we are experiencing in the present. Before you saw a distinguished university like Yale, now you see an institution that helped maintain racism as the norm. You see how deeply the roots of evil go in human society. The famous people in society that you celebrated and loved like Hogan and Cosby are contrasted with their failures and evil habits that you never saw as a kid. As you feel the weight and reality of all the things you weren’t privy to as a kid, you begin to lose the glimmer of hope you had and your great desire for change begins to decrease.
If you’re not careful, cynicism will reign supreme in your thoughts and interactions about people. Instead of treating them good because that’s what should be done, you can get caught up in “how long will it take until they show who they really are?!” We are all susceptible to the drastic and dangerous shifting of our outlook on life as we struggle to make sense of all the discordant aspects of human experience. Is there a way to maintain a healthy outlook on life as we deal with how far, wide, and deep the evil truly is in the world? Is our hope in Christ mere wishful thinking or a confident expectation that anchors our soul?
When we see things through Christ, we’re able to be realistic without being pessimistic. Whenever people we respect and celebrate show themselves to be less than we thought of, we don’t grow distrustful of everybody. We are taken aback at the senselessness of life that literally takes our breath away, but not our foundation for why we live.
Our hope in Christ is the anchor of our soul because of the clarity and perspective it gives to us. EVIL HAS AN EXPIRATION DATE. There’s a time appointed for judgement to take place according to our deeds, and it’ll be a righteous judgement. Looking at this world through Christ’s eyes brings us comfort and security, knowing that we are cared for in the midst of a world that is careless. It also allows us to look at people without having an unrealistic view of them. Sometimes, the people we most respect end up disappointing us the most.
I don’t believe that God has called us to be idealists in life, because the world has never been ideal by nature. There has to be complete and total restoration of all things, and it is imperative that we walk through life with this as our perspective.
It sets our expectations, without compromising our desire for progress now. We do good and desire the world to progress because we know that Christ, who is greater, has our ultimate restoration as His desire and goal in everything He does. Even more encouraging is that God intervened in human affairs throughout history, continues to show up today, and hears the cries of our heart.
We don’t have to hope alone in our own power, the Holy Spirit is the Mighty Counselor that walks beside us, and makes the truth real and near to us. Things aren’t ideal in this world, but Christ is more than our ideal, He is the beginning and the end, our reason for living.