A regular perusal of news outlets is enough to show that our world is in a mess, to put it mildly. Of course, this is nothing new. Political agendas, personal desires and worldly viewpoints always have made improving human relationships an uphill battle.
Meaningful and lasting change in the human arena is possible only through the will and way of God.
“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1).
God cares about what happens in the lives of those he has created and is active in the events that take place. To what degree, we may not know. But he has ordained that governments exist and wants men to use the power he has given them in just and merciful ways (Romans 13). The abuse of this God-given power is massive, but he still wants men to live in peace and harmony.
Regardless of whether we want to admit it, it is our sinful passions that lead to conflict among people. Even though the context is different, the point of James 4:1 is the same: "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?" Every human act of injustice, hatred and abuse is a case of sin and rebellion against God, inspired by Satan. Literally, to paraphrase comedian Flip Wilson, "The devil makes us do it!" Of course, Satan’s influence does not excuse us of our personal responsibility and guilt. Those who followed the desires of Adolph Hitler — some of whom were just as cruel and inhumane as he — were responsible for their part in the torture and murder of millions prior to and during WWII. But, from a human standpoint, it was Hitler who inspired and led them. And it was Satan who led and inspired them from a supernatural standpoint.
In his wisdom, God knew that a redemptive act would be necessary to rescue men from sin and its destructive consequences. The only way men can live together on a significant and enduring basis is through Jesus Christ. In going to the cross, "His purpose was to make the two groups of people [Jews and Gentiles] become one new people in him and in this way make peace ....to end the hatred between the two groups, to make them into one body, and to bring them back to God" (Ephesians 2:15–16, New Century Version). This divine purpose applies to every human situation where hostility exists.
God knew, sadly, that not all — in fact, few — would accept his way of redemption and reconciliation. So, war will continue. Murder will persist. Injustice still will be the order of the day. Lust will keep on trashing the minds of men and women.
But when men turn to God instead of turning on one another, real change can be accomplished. It will be one at a time, a man and his neighbor, a Christian and his brother, a husband and his wife, a parent and a child. It may come slowly. But it can be done — God’s way.