Where do problems come from? They come from that little part of human beings that says, “Dammit. No. That’s mine and I’m not sharing.” This attitude can be accurately called “sin,” “hate,” “current reality” or “just the way things are.”


The way that one of the writers of the New Testament writers, John, talks about this ideas is by calling this attitude, and its source, simply as “the world.” Used this way, he and other writers are not referring to physical reality or to all the people who make up the world. (From Genesis, we know that God is the one who made the physical world and said repeatedly that what he made “is good.” And from verses like John 3:16, we know that God loves the people in it.) What John is referring to is that “spirit” in the world that is opposed to the ways of God and opposed to human peace.


So, it is doubly disappointing when the “world” shows up in the things we care the most about: our family, our work and, sometimes, in our faith communities. It is discouraging when “mine” shows up where “blessings on you” is expected. Part of the courage that Jesus demonstrated was his willingness to name this dark heart wherever he found it, even when he found it inside the heart of his own people. “The world” hates not getting its own way. It has a double hatred for those who call it out.

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