At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
The rejection of God affects everything.
- our thinking–we were foolish and deceived.
- our behavior–disobedient and enslaved.
This is something for which we are responsible (foolish and disobedient) and we are victims (deceived and enslaved).
How is this possible? Our individual choices create a collective culture that deceives us. Our choices have created patterns of personal behavior that enslave us. We are trapped by our habits, but they are formed through our actions. As a result, we are helpless. We need someone to save us. Often people will admit they need help. But we need more than a helping hand. We need complete rescue.
Because our relationship with God is a mess, our relationships with one another are a mess. In foolish disobedience, we have “lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” Malice is wishing bad things would happen to other people; envy is wishing good things had not happened to people or to you instead.
Today’s culture is all about self-esteem, self-fulfillment, self-image. It is all about me and how I feel about myself. So if anyone threatens that with a dose of uncompromising truth, then it feels like an attack on me. We pretend we are wonderful people, and ignore and excuse all evidence to the contrary. But because of the good news of Jesus there is no pretending.
The reality is that we will never understand the depth of God’s love until we face the reality of what we are like without Him.