The Mueller Report and Good Friday
"Our culture is in chaos because we have forgotten the first line that was ever put to print in America: 'In Adam’s fall, we sinned all,'" Ravi reflects on Good Friday.
People often ask me as I travel what I think of the political scene in America. I am tempted to reply with a quote attributed to G.K. Chesterton when someone asked him what he thought of civilization: “I think it’s a great idea; why doesn’t somebody start one?”
The truth is that the political scene globally is chaotic. I was in one country where there were seventy-seven different political parties represented at the ballot box. In another country, a bellman said to me, “We don’t have political parties, Sir. We have cartels.” From Brexit in the UK to the horrors of Venezuela to the impossibility of governing in the United States, one wonders where we are headed as a species. If anyone ever thought the Mueller report would bring an end to this constant turmoil in Washington, they were the ultimate optimists, defying reality. There was no way with the toxicity present that any report would have brought peace. Each side walks away with what their own prejudices dictate. But so it is. This is not to say that there aren’t any sane voices. There are. I have met some of them personally and see the anguish in their faces when they talk about the morass that has become the ground on which our debates are now conducted. But these thoughtful voices just get drowned out by the noise makers whose goal is to take down whatever the status quo is, never mind if their own suggestions are bereft of historical understanding or common sense. It is sad to see such destructive forces at work. Whenever destruction is at the forefront of a person’s motives, nothing will change until there is a reconstruction within their own hearts.
I am reminded of a conversation I had with the famed Joe Gibbs after he moved from the NFL to NASCAR. I asked him, “How on earth did you make such a switch from football to car racing?” He said, “It was easy. They both have one thing in common—the depravity of man.” It was an answer I was not expecting, but applauded.
The Bible makes it clear that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. If you want to end any media interview quickly, just use the word “sin.” That’s all that is needed to be heard to make the popular mind consider you a vestige from bygone beliefs, a kind of intellectually bankrupt ideologue. Yet, anyone who denies the reality of sin actually proves the truth of it.
I had a classmate who stormed out of a conversation breathing threatenings and slaughter. I asked him, “What happened?"
He said, “I cannot believe my friends! I simply cannot believe what they just said to me!”
“What did they say?” I asked.
“They just told me that I cannot take any criticism! Can you believe that?” I just stared at him till he quieted down. The rest was easy.
We are so blinded by the very thing that we deny. We are comfortable calling our malady anything but sin. But as Muggeridge powerfully said, “The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable fact at the same time that it is the most intellectually resisted.”
The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable fact at the same time that it is the most intellectually resisted.
Paul referred to himself as the chief of sinners. David prayed, “Against you and you alone have I sinned and done evil in your sight” (Psalm 51:4). The prodigal returned to his home and said to his father, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you” (Luke 15:18).
How profound! Sin is always against God and shows itself against our fellow human beings. Jesus clearly taught that sin is the central feature at the heart of human self-destruction. The fact is that sin and transgression are not the private characteristic of a few but of us all. The problem is that we like to throw stones at others when we should be on our faces before God. The healing starts there. Today if Jesus asked our sophisticated cultural elites for the one that is without sin to cast the first stone, the “accused” would be buried under a hail of rocks. We love to exonerate ourselves from that for which we stone others.
The problem is that we like to throw stones at others when we should be on our faces before God.
Our culture is in chaos because we have forgotten the first line that was ever put to print in America: “In Adam’s fall, we sinned all.” Today I’m afraid we believe in none of those categories: We don’t believe there was ever such a one as Adam. We do not believe in the fall, and we do not believe we are sinners. The symptoms of that unbelief are the basis of the headlines in our news these days. It’s not just in politics; it is in every human heart.
On this Good Friday, we need to remember there is only one who is perfectly good. That one died on the cross for our good. The only goodness we can ever gain is his righteousness, which he imparts to us by his grace. When we recognize we are sinners, we see the splendor of the cross as our only means of cleansing.
What would ever happen in Washington if our politicians were all in church this Good Friday seeking forgiveness from God and each other? What would happen if every one of our judges and those judged did the same thing? They could then show the way to the rest of the nation. That is when America can be truly great. I pray for the day when we see such a miracle, not just in America but across our world.
I have a painting in my office of a little girl holding the scarred hands of Jesus and asking him, “What happened to your hands?”
I wish we would all ask that question and receive his answer. Only then can the Mueller report or any report bring closure. The report that really matters is what God thinks of us and why He sent his Son. In this world, sin always bounces back. We sin towards somebody; they wish to sin back against us. At the cross, sin did not bounce back. Sin stopped—when Jesus said from the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
May this Good Friday see us all saying before God, “I have sinned,” as we then receive the loving forgiveness of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. As the hymn writer expressed,
I sometimes think about the cross,
and shut my eyes, and try to see
the cruel nails and crown of thorns,
and Jesus crucified for me.
But even could I see Him die,
I could but see a little part
of that great love which, like a fire,
is always burning in His heart.
Hoping you have a really “good” Good Friday.
On behalf of the RZIM team