The blackness of night carries with it an extreme range of emotions. Depending on context the descending darkness of night can be both filled with eager anticipation or dread, excitement or fear. On this night though, darkness brought only disgust and heartbreak.
That is what walking the darkness of “the walking street” brings. Old men (mostly American men) walking hand in hand with young Filipino girls…need I say more? Seeing those girls with those men intertwined the depth of hurt and anger into a mixture nauseating grief.
What do you do with that? You can’t kill the one and carry off the other on a white horse.
Besides, no matter how I feel, that isn’t what either party needs. Both need the rescue of redemption. Both need the grace that brings forgiveness. Both need the mercy that releases. The men and girls both equally need an answer to the one, single dominating force in their lives: their depravity.
Seeking what they desperately need in a way that can never fulfill.
Seeing them together was the perfect picture of depravity. Men seeking a longing of their soul, girls seeking provision and security, both at the expense of the other with neither care nor concern with how they try and find what they are longing for. Without a doubt it was one of the most twistedly compelling scenes I had ever been confronted with.
It was in that moment that I came to a fuller understanding of the human condition. What I saw and what I felt could not be escaped by leaving that place. It wasn’t contained to that street where men and girls trolled and paraded themselves in hopes of taking something from the other that neither can provide.
No, it confronts each of us every day on every street in every location. It is the hateful, sorrowful, hopeless life without God which is not isolated in one culture, one economic environment, or one political setting.
Paul told Titus,
“…we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.” (Titus 3:3).
Heartbreaking, disgusting, hopeless and played out a million different ways each day. Without apology it is who we all are apart from God and what we look like each and every time we choose to walk away from God even for a moment. The portrait God paints for us isn’t pretty but it is truth with full disclosure.
Just exactly what we need because unless we examine in detail our ugly filth we will never see the pure beauty of the next picture.
“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently…” (Titus 3:4-8).
When we see and understand the lostness of the human soul for what it is, only then will we see the magnificent beauty of the Gospel. As we see the world for what it is, we see the need for redemption. As we see ourselves for who we are, we see our need to bow at the Savior’s throne.
God, may we see our filth and in doing so experience Your glory. As we see hopelessness around us, may we bring your goodness and grace.