The ruler of one nation slaughters any fellow- countrymen who oppose him. In another country, a woman, in the name of religion, plants a bomb on a subway and murders scores of innocent people. Tech-savvy criminals steal money from bank accounts on-line and hijack e-mail accounts. From national leaders to common workers, folks speak profanity as casually as you and I take a drink of water, and they do not care who hears their disgusting slime.

With modern technology and convenient communication (including news agencies and social media), news travels quickly and photos instantly reveal gory details. Such is the world in which we live. Which do people find more interesting and newsworthy: to report that thousands of flights arrived safely, or that one plane carrying ten passengers crashed? Which catches people’s attention more: a report that one thousand law enforcement workers did their job lawfully and with respect for those whom they serve, or to tell of one lawbreaking, abusive officer who “crossed the line?” A great deal of what is communicated on the news and via social media is alarming, even downright depressing.

In view of all the mean-spirited activity and immorality which abounds in our society and around the world, we are made to wonder: “Why is the world in such a mess?” The Lord has infinite understanding of all matters (Psalm 147:5), so He understands completely what the major factors are in mankind being in such a mess. While we lack His comprehension, some things are obvious.

For perspective, consider two conversations which could have taken place. First, we go back a few thousand years before the birth of Jesus: “We have a question for you, Noah. Sir, why was the pre- flood world in such a mess?” His answer: “. . . the wickedness of man was great in the earth . . . every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). In Noah’s day, human conduct was a disaster. Why? It was a heart problem.

Now, we go to the first century. “We have a question for you, John. Why is the world in such a mess?” His answer: “. . . the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). Earlier in that same century, we turn to another apostle. “We have a question for you, Paul. Why is the world in such a mess?” His answer: People are “dead in trespasses and sins . . . fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind . . .” (Ephesians 2:1,3).

Those facts noted above remind us of this reality: what currently is going on in our lifetime is not the first period in history when humanity has made a mess of things on a wide scale. Yet, we admit that in any generation it is possible for people and their evil deeds to “grow worse and worse” (2 Timothy 3:13). As scary as it sounds, things could get worse than they are now . . . much worse. Man’s number one problem is sin – when people have evil thoughts and have their mind set on fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, man’s corruption will be continuous and progressive.

We often observe a lack of common decency and respect for human life. Man was made in the image of the Creator (Genesis 1:26,27), but when people constantly are fed the message of atheism and organic evolution, do not be surprised if the indoctrinated ones act like animals in their dealings one with another.

When you throw in humanism, which places prime importance on human intellect, human power, and humans deciding for themselves what is right and wrong, then there is no room for the Lord in that picture. This truth cannot be denied: when you cast aside God and His truth, there is no end to the debauchery which mankind will embrace — recall the behavior and doom of Sodom and Gomorrah (Jude 7).

We say it again: man’s most serious issue is sin, and sin is a problem which comes from the heart (Mark 7:19-23). That is fixable on an individual basis if a person is willing to humble himself before God, repent of his sins, and turn to Him for forgiveness.

God is working right now to rid the world of darkness. In order to do that, He inserts light into the world. How does He do that? Through His Son – the light of the world (John 8:12), through His word – the light for man’s path (Psalm 119:105), and via His children – the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). The world is changed for the better one heart at a time. Thank God for His light and the hope it brings.

— Roger D. Campbell