Ecc 1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
Ecc 2:15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.
Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
In the nearly six decades that I have lived, I have seen western culture become engulfed in the conflict between the oppressed and the oppressors. The poor have battled the rich, racial minorities have battled racial majorities, socialists have battled capitalists, homosexuals have battled heterosexuals, and there are many other conflicts raging in the world. In each conflict there is a minority group that believes they are being oppressed by a more powerful group through being larger in number or having more wealth. It seems any group with a serious complaint identify themselves as the oppressed. These conflicts are becoming more intense, despite all the efforts of social, religious, educational and government organizations.
The first thing the oppressed asked for is tolerance. They want to be allowed to exist and function beside those they feel have oppressed them. They want their differences from those more powerful to be accepted without penalty. Tolerance, once gained, soon becomes unsatisfactory to the oppressed. The battle then turns into a quest for equality. It is not enough to tolerate each other, there must be an equal sharing of power and opportunity. This seems reasonable and most societies agree that it is a desirable goal. Western culture has labored intensely to provide equal opportunity for all people to find success and the pursuit of happiness. There are no legal or institutionalized prejudices left in western culture toward minorities of all kinds. There are individual people who may harbor prejudices toward those not like them, but educational, religious, social and governmental organizations condemn such actions. There are laws that empower the courts to prosecute discriminatory behavior. Despite the gains we have seen in the area of equality between different groups, there are still deep rooted feelings of resentment and anger between these groups. Equality gives way to another demand; privilege. Those who have felt oppressed are not satisfied with tolerance or equality, there must also be supremacy. You can call it revenge or many other things, but it comes down to the oppressed becoming the oppressor, and having the power that others have enjoyed. It seems that the conflict has no resolution. Trillions of dollars have been applied to the problem. Laws have been passed to deal with the problem. Our form of government has been questioned, and there are those who would change it, because of the problem. Yet, it In the nearly six decades that I have lived, I have seen western culture become engulfed in the conflict between the oppressed and the oppressors. The poor have battled the rich, racial minorities have battled racial majorities, socialists have battled capitalists, homosexuals have battled heterosexuals, and there are many other conflicts raging in the world. In each conflict there is a minority group that believes they are being oppressed by a more powerful group through being larger in number or having more wealth. It seems any group with a serious complaint identify themselves as the oppressed. These conflicts are becoming more intense, despite all the efforts of social, religious, educational and government organizations. It has only intensified. Why is this? The scriptures explain that is a matter of sin nature.
When the scriptures speak of vanity, they are pointing out the temporal nature of life on earth. Nothing of this physical world will last beyond its use here. Those who have no genuine hope of heaven are living each day giving their energy and knowledge to things that they will experience and enjoy no longer than the years they live. Why is this? It is because of the simple truth that we are all sinners. This notion is despised by those who love this temporal world. The rich, poor, healthy, unhealthy, oppressors, oppressed, majority, minority, men, women, kings, subjects, presidents, liberals, conservatives, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and all other human beings are sinners. When the Bible says “all” have sinned, it means everyone. Throughout our lifetime we are reminded daily that we have sinned and come short of God’s glory. The poor succumb to the sins of covetous and bitterness. The rich commit the sins of greed and various lusts that can be obtained by wealth. The well-meaning political leaders become egotistical and lust for power over the lives of others. These same sins repeat themselves in every culture and kingdom and have not changed since man was driven from the Garden of Eden. Our sin nature keeps us from accomplishing the peace and stability on earth that we desire. Man is unable to fix the conflicts that have existed between people because man is reluctant to deal with the root cause. The pride of life demands that man solve the worlds’ problems. God has given us the answer through Jesus Christ. He alone paid our sin debt and can give us a new mind and heart toward others. We must first confess that we have sinned. We will not call upon him if we do not see ourselves as condemned and in need of deliverance from judgment.
There is another tragic step in the digression of a society when sin is not confessed; the sinners begin to cry out for tolerance, then equality and lastly privilege and power over those who oppose their sin. When destructive and immoral behavior is elevated to a privileged status then the foundations of a society are destroyed. Then family, faith and righteousness are persecuted. The scriptures warn that love would wax cold. In the absence of God mankind cannot love each other. The wicked cannot sustain a society. We are seeing what happens when the Godless fail to build a stable society; the void of leadership is filled by those who will oppress with vicious aggression. Communist governments are one example and radical Islam is another.
Jesus said we (Christians) are the light of the world. Without us, there is no light. May we pray and labor to teach the world what hope, forgiveness and love are really about. I close with a worthy question; What if every person on earth believed that there is such a thing as sin, and they confessed they were a sinner in need of forgiveness, and after obtaining that forgiveness they practiced the teachings of the Bible…..what kind of world would we live in?