Legend has it that once a famous newspaper, The Times of London, ran a cover story addressing the penultimate question, “What’s Wrong With the World?” The story goes that the newspaper consulted various philosophers and thinkers for the project, searching for competing answers. They came to Catholic theologian Gilbert Keith Chesterton and asked him to provide his answer, and here is what he said:
We haven’t found documented proof of Chesterton’s answers in the archives, so some are skeptical. But regardless, I firmly believe this would have been Chesterton’s answer had he been asked.
I hope you feel the weight, the conviction of this stirring two-word response the way I do. The concept of blame always carries with it an external focus, like the picture of binoculars peering out into the bad, bad world, seeking out the nastiness that’s on the horizon. But Chesterton reminds us that the real problem is right within us. It is us, in our humanity.
This “I am” mindset affects everything. It changes the way we criticize others online. It impacts the way we argue in marriage. It informs the way we view criminals and tragedies across the globe. The problem really is not out there, but in here, for each of us. And thank God He came to us to do something about that problem. Thank God for men like Chesterton. Godly, wise men, who admit their complete depravity without grace. May the same be said of us.