How should Christians view the world around us? Discouragement, depression, and anxiety are likely emotions that arise when we notice the hatred, disunity, and sadness found within the world. Why is the world like it is? How can I live a joyful life amid calamities? Is it possible to make a positive impact in a world saturated by evil?
It is essential to develop a biblical understanding for the existence and prevalence of evil within the world. Evil and corruption exists in the world because mankind turned its back on God in pursuit of selfish desires (Genesis 3:6-7). It is a common response for humanity to wave their collective fists at God because of the hardships faced in this life, but we are the ones ultimately responsible. Everything God created was perfect, and man’s disobedience corrupted creation. Now, as a result we experience sickness, death, pain, hatred, disasters, etc.
However, God in His great love did not leave us hopeless. Even though we were self-decided enemies of God, He extended love to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus lived the perfect life that we couldn’t and laid His life down for us—even though He was the only one not deserving of death. Only through His life, death and resurrection can we experience relationship with God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 teaches, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin in our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (NASB, 2020).
Now, if we have repented of our sins (again, we are enemies of God apart from Christ) and placed our faith in Christ (Galatians 2:16), we have the promise of Heaven—a place absent of evil, and all the consequences associated with it. Sin will be no more, and we will be with the Lord forever.
The promise of heaven, where all things are made new (Revelation 21:1), provides joy. Life is but a moment, but we were created for eternity. Christ gives us joy in the here and now. In fact, life in this corrupted world is actualized as abundant life (John 10:10). Does this mean that we no longer suffer? Unfortunately, no. We live this life in faith, and every hardship we face makes the promise of eternity with God even sweeter. We are reminded of God’s goodness even in the hardest circumstances that we face (Psalm 107:1).
With this right understanding of creation’s corruption and how to live joyfully despite the consequences, how can we make a legitimate impact? The answer is simple. We make an impact by pointing others to Jesus, in word and deed. People need to hear the Gospel, which “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16, NASB), and they cannot hear if we do not tell. This is the most important approach to impacting the world in a positive way.
Another way to make an impact is to love others by meeting needs. Providing food for the hungry, water for the thirsty, compassion for the hurting, etc. Loving people in this way provides an opportunity to point them to Jesus. In doing so, we are showing them the love of Christ, which provides an opportunity to tell the Good News. However, if we are to honor God, even our acts of generosity and compassion must be for His glory—not ours (Matthew 5:16).
Now, understanding why the world is the way it is, how we can have joy in times of hardship, and how we can positively impact the world gives us perspective concerning the goodness of God. Every time we experience an adversity or see a sad news story, we can anticipate heaven—where there will be no more suffering or hatred (Revelation 21:4). We should also be inspired to make an impact for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)!
For more on this topic and how we as Christian parents can prepare our children for the trials they will inevitably face in this broken world, check out “Why Not Pretend the World Is Safe” of the popular series Why or Why Not with Benjamin and Kirsten Watson: