The Commercial Appeal
Our hearts, minds are driven by selfishness
Q: I believe people are basically good, and that we ought to try to bring out the best in people, instead of telling them how bad they are, and demanding they repent of their sins, and things like that. We’d have a far better world if we simply encouraged each other to be good.
— Mrs. K.U.
A: You’re right, up to a point; sometimes people do act unselfishly (and even sacrificially), and we should be encouraged to follow their example. The Bible says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).
Tragically, however, both history and the Bible give us a much different picture. Yes, sometimes we are capable of great good — but unfortunately the human race is also capable of great evil. Think, for example, of the millions of people who were brutally killed by evil tyrants during the last century. Think, too, of the terrorism and persecution that ravage our world today. Or simply scan the headlines in the newspaper you’re holding.
What is the problem? It isn’t that we don’t know better, or we just need to be told to be good. The problem is deeper than this — within our own hearts and minds. Instead of being filled with love and compassion, we are ruled by selfishness and pride. Jesus put it this way: “Out of the heart come evil thoughts — murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19).
This is why we need Christ, for only he can forgive us and begin changing us from within. By nature we are separated from God, and our greatest need is to be reconciled to the One who made us. Face your need for God’s forgiveness and mercy, and by faith open your life to Jesus Christ.