The guest speaker made a simple, yet profound observation during the introduction to his Sunday morning message at my home church. He had prefaced his comment by noting he doesn’t like to get into arguments. Rather, he preferred to be agreeable with others if at all possible.
Following the preface, he proclaimed, “The world is in a mess!”
This British brother then asked the congregation – “Does anyone have a problem with this assessment of things?”
I suppose this general assessment of the world situation would, by in large, be accepted not only by people in the church, but also by people outside the church.
For there are universal realities of the human condition, like death, that provide common perspectives for people of all ilks.
And so, while most would agree with this general assessment of things, real divergence will arise when grappling with an answer to the problem. Or in other words, “Can anyone or anything fix the mess the world is in?”
And therein lies a compelling conversation starter for the believer.
As you interact with unbelievers in your sphere of influence, you can ask, “Do you agree or disagree with this statement – The world is in a mess?” This is not an overtly religious or intimidating question, but it is practical and personal.
Whatever the answer, your follow up can be, “How did you come to that conclusion?”
As we speak with others, it’s always beneficial to understand those with whom you’re seeking to share truth. And questions are like opening doors of opportunity – the opportunity to understand another.
If someone thinks the world is not in a mess, that will certainly make for interesting conversation as you follow up and also ask, “How did you come to that conclusion?”
Assuming they concur the world is in a mess, you can pose a final question along these lines: “Can anyone or anything fix the mess the world is in? Why or why not?”
As Christians, we are sometimes accused of simply wanting to speak – making proclamations and giving answers. Note how this type of conversation highlights the believer asking questions and listening! People want to be heard and understood. And many are glad to have a platform to share and be heard! This tact of asking questions and listening is certainly part of a humble and winsome witness. And personally, this is an area of my witness where I’m striving to grow and where I have much room to grow.
At some point, ask permission to share your thoughts about the question at hand. This transition requires some wisdom and discernment, as you want to allow the one your speaking with the freedom to share all they want. In other words, don’t cut them off. Since conversations are two-way, if you feel they’ve completed their thoughts, go ahead and ask if you can clarify what they’ve said so you both have understanding. This is a good exercise in listening and affirming.
When sharing your point of view, know that you can only briefly touch upon this broad topic in one sitting.
And your line of thinking could go in any number of directions. Take the opportunity to address the question, starting with the basics and branching out from there.
In general, focus on man, the source of the mess, and Jesus, the solution to the mess. Here’s a simple yet direct response.
The world is in a mess because of the sin of man. Don’t assume anyone knows the meaning of sin. In simplest terms, sin is missing the mark of God’s expectation. Any unrighteousness is sin. In fact, most people understand they miss the mark, failing to meet their own expectations, much less those of a holy, righteous, and perfect God! When man rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, the curse of death was the consequence. Additionally, ever since Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, mankind has been born alienated from his Creator and with this propensity to rebel against God – this is called the sin nature. And this sin nature in man has brought forth mess that the world is in.
But God, in His grace and mercy, brought forth a Savior, Jesus, who brings spiritual deliverance for individuals today:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
And some soon tomorrow God will bring about a physical deliverance from the mess of this world by creating a new heaven and new earth devoid of sin, where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:1-5).
Now this is only one starting point to begin answering the dilemma of the mess of this world. You may go in any number of directions biblically as you interact over the issue.
The point is this: There is an answer to the mess of this world – and His name is Jesus.
The goal is to have a healthy vibrant conversation over the issue raised – namely the mess the world is in. Our audience may neither agree or like our answer to the problem. More often than not, a divergent view will not be immediately accepted as ‘truth.’ That’s ok. Remember, when conversing with people about truth, we simply want to sow seeds.
Understand that when people are presented alternative paradigms, often the initial response is push back. This is where love and respect of others is paramount, along with trust and dependence upon the Spirit of God to give the increase of those seeds of truth that are sown.
To review, here’s the basic line of questioning to spark conversation regarding the state of the world:
- “Do you agree or disagree with this statement: ‘The world is in mess?’”
- “How did you come to that conclusion?”
- “Can anyone or anything fix the mess the world is in? Why or why not?”
As you have conversations with people, try this conversation starter and let me know how it goes, confidently knowing and sharing that Jesus is the answer!
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30)