In the past couple of months I stumbled across a quote by Paul Farmer saying:
“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.”
It bothered me on several levels, so much so that I went on a four-page rant in my journal. I just wanted to bring up one point here. I think it’s pretty important.
Mr. Farmer here seems to think that he knows the cure for all the world’s problems, but there’s a little problem in his logic. He’s trying to diagnose the symptoms as the disease itself, whereas the real disease runs much deeper than his statement would imply that he ever looked. He looked at the outward effects of the disease, but he completely forgot to factor in the inward cause of the outward effects. Namely, sin. Mr. Farmer apparently thinks that a lack of value for life is the cause of all the world’s problems, when in fact the real disease is sin. Lack of value for life is just a natural effect of that. And ridding yourself of the effects of a disease, in my experience, never fixes the disease.
Valuing all life as equal might sound like a nice solution to the brokenness of this world, but it will never fix the problem. The reason is because a lack thereof never caused the brokenness, although it was an effect of the real cause. Sin caused the brokenness we see today, and a respect for all life cannot counteract that because it has no power over the ugliness of sin. It might cover over some of the visible effects of sin, but the sin nature is still there. You can teach a kid to be outwardly nice or polite to the other kids, but you can’t force him to love them, if you see what I mean. That’s because outward behaviors will never change an inward sin nature. Outward behaviors alone will never change the heart. There’s only one cure for an inward sin nature, and around this time of year you can find depictions of Him in a lowly manger.
Christ is the cure, not respect for all life, because without Christ you can have no genuine, honest, and sincere respect for the lives of your fellow humans – for the simple fact that we’re all sinners down here. We are not inherently good, but inherently evil. And so it is only by the power of Christ that mankind can overcome the rule of sin on this earth. Shame, shame on us if we ever attempt to cure this disease with anything else. Christ and Christ alone will fix all that is wrong with this world, one sincerely changed soul at a time. Shouldn’t we then be earnestly seeking to bring others to the one genuine Soul-Changer instead of griping about how people ought to just learn to love each other?