Don’t despair: there is hope.
There is hope in God, if not so much in us. God is eternal, so time bound beings are able to have hope in His power even faced with our wickedness and weakness. God is moving in His love for us. He has a vast cosmic plan to redeem us. As a result, there is hope for us, absolute, joyous hope.
God is the reason for hope, we are broken and cannot save ourselves. God has let us try our schemes to save ourselves for centuries. Every try for Utopia has produced dystopia, but God remains our creator, our father, our friend.
We have hope, but only if we can see who were are, what we can and cannot do, and at last in our weakness we look to God in all things. This is self-knowledge.
Socrates was right: “we must know ourselves.” He was referring to the inscription at the oracle of Delphi “know thyself.” Self-knowledge is humility, because next to the god of the great oracle, any human was not so much. Socrates may have come to doubt the oracle, but he saw, plain as plain, that we were simple servants of divine Wisdom. That may not be found at Delphi or from the for profit prophets of our time, but Wisdom is real.
We love that Wisdom and know next to Wisdom we are small.
This does not mean we are worthless, but that our worth is grounded in God. Even the atheist, the one who denies God, has the ground of his being in God. This is why all of us must love everyone, even our enemies. This is why in this life an atheist may be better off in some ways than a theist. An atheist may work hard to be good, truthful, and beautiful, while a theist takes all that for granted. Yet these outer works are not enough, we are not what we should be. “Better” is not fit for “best”…. the perfection of paradise.
You cannot make spoiled meat edible by scraping off the external mold, but it does look better.
An insecure person preens, pouts, and pontificates on how they deserve adulation, money, or power: a sure sign of insecurity and pain. When we know God loves us, that we are beautiful in God’s sight, then we can rejoice even when we need to repent. Justice for humanity is a we and injustice all about me.
We, at least I, am too easily drawn from justice to desire. Desire is not bad in itself, but bad when desire becomes disconnected to justice. No bully, remaining a bully, can see the Kingdom of God.
Obviously true, but that does not mean the coward, the one who refuses to speak a prophetic word, will see the Kingdom of God. We need courage without bullying, meekness without weakness. This is so hard that when we say this truth, we must pause. Almost surely, we have failed on one side or the other.
There was once a man who loved God and his people. He was a patriot, but he saw the poor abused and the stranger harmed. He was angry and he asked God what was happening:
4So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.
This was a good observation and God, in His response, never denies these facts. Instead, he shows that justice is coming with mercy. We long for justice, but we also need mercy.