If you watch the nightly news you might think that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Indeed, evil might be growing in the world but, believe it or not, the world is getting better.
In the Bible, in Matthew 13:24-30 and 36-43, Jesus teaches using an allegory that is typically referred to as "The Parable of the Weeds." He uses many parables in his teachings but, in this particular case, his confounded disciples actually ask him to explain the parable. In short, Jesus says there is good seed growing in the world, e.g. wheat that represents people who are intently trying to do and be good. Likewise, there is bad seed growing in the world, e.g. weeds or people pursuing evil. But one day, according to Jesus, the weeds will be pulled and then "the righteous will shine in the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
Whatever your religious convictions, it is pretty easy to see how Jesus' teaching regarding the weeds applies to us today. In an exponentially increasing technological world, people in pursuit of good or evil have at their fingertips the technical ability to enhance their actions. In other words, if you want to be bad, you can be really bad. But, on the flip side, if you choose to be good, your efforts can be exponentially good.
This would imply that, indeed, the powers of evil are growing in the world. In some ways things are getting worse -- much worse. But it is not the case those doing good in the world are getting weaker and weaker. No. The good news is that the amount of good in the world is growing -- and growing emphatically.
Take the following, for instance. Since the mid-1980s:
When an earthquake demolishes a third world country, it is the church, or a church-inspired entity, that mobilizes to its aid -- simply in the interest of loving their neighbor.
Don't get me wrong; there are also a lot of people who mistreat others in the name of the church. That is a fact. But I think we can be hopeful because our world isn't all doom and gloom. The efforts of those who are choosing to do good are bearing visible fruit that is perpetually making our world a better place. For that, I think that we can all be grateful.
The Rev. Christopher Benek is the associate pastor of family ministries at Providence Presbyterian Church on Hilton Head Island. Read his blog at www.christopherbenek.com.