Any bakers in the house? Those of you who’ve mastered the science of baking, I applaud you. You understand (unlike me) that baking is an exact science and you must follow the recipe to…the…letter. Don’t omit or add anything that the recipe doesn’t call for.
Cake baking is such: 1/2 cup butter (room temperature). 1 cup white sugar. 2 eggs. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder. 1/2 cup milk. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9 x 9 inch pan. In medium bowl add and mix ingredients as recipe directs. Spoon batter into greased pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
If you follow the recipe to the letter, and refrain from repeatedly opening the oven door, your cake should come out beautifully. But what happens IF any ONE of the listed ingredients is not used, is substituted for something else, or creative license is applied? You got it. The cake will not turn out right. If you forget the baking powder, your cake won’t rise. Too much vigorous whisking of the batter will take the air out of your cake, making it heavy like a brick (I’ve done this, so I know). Using tableware instead of measuring spoons to measure the dry products. Again, problems.
What happens when we take similar shortcuts to address societal issues? You got it. We’ll incur problems. We’ll continue to apply creative and inaccurate solutions that fall short of the desired outcome.
From campaigns, to governments, movements, municipalities, policymakers and frustrated publics, many of these entities have sought to apply solutions, albeit creative ones, to address and forever resolve our most pressing community, national and world issues.
For gun violence, some recommend taking people’s guns. But if you deny someone a gun who is morally debased, they will surely use a knife, their hands or other means to inflict harm upon others. It’s not the weapon, it’s their heart, that’s flawed.
Like forgetting to add baking soda to your cake batter, solutions developed that exclude Jesus Christ from the mix, will continue to fall flat of the behaviorial transformations we desire to see in one another.
Jesus calls us to love one another. It’s His amazing love that transforms people and situations. Without inviting Jesus Christ to change one heart at a time, the millions of dollars and hours spent to advance change will fail.
It will fail because many subscribe to the belief that people are born “good.” But in fact, there was nothing innocent about any of us when we were born. We were all born into sin, into a fallen nature.
Dr. Gary Roberts, Regent University Robertson School of Government professor, wrote:
“Our world’s spiritual and cultural economy is the aggregated product of collective decisions made by individuals, families, and social institutions. This world is in a fallen state (Romans 5:12, Ephesians 6:12), hence, it is a battleground between good, evil and human indifference. The end result is individual and collective evil and sin, errors of commission and omission, evil thoughts, words and deeds that estrange us from God, ourselves and others (Romans 6:16).”
As a dear sister in Christ said in reference to mankind’s fallen nature before a holy God, “We underestimate our sin. We underestimate who we are.”
Putting on the righteousness of Jesus Christ and yielding our lives to the Holy Spirit is how we overcome our self-tendencies so we can extend goodness, kindness, love, patience and peace toward others.
No shortcuts. Add Jesus Christ to the mix of our mess.
Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.
Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.