JOHN PEARRELL: True hope and change can only be found in Christ

In a few short days, America returns to the polls for an important election. Actually, I think all of them are important and we have the privilege of the vote. With that in mind, let me challenge you.

Four years ago, our president, Barack Obama, ran on the platform of "hope and change." Obviously, that platform tugged at the hearts of many Americans because he was elected to this nation's highest office.

I think all of us desire hope and change; it is a universal cry of the heart. Many today are disappointed because our president was not able to deliver on that promise. It is that issue that I want to address in this column.

In fairness to our president, we should not blame him for not delivering the hope and change he spoke of in 2008. Why? Because in all honesty there is no man in our world today who can deliver real hope and real change.

It is not in the purview of the politician, it is not in the power of the educator, and it cannot be found in the laboratories of our scientists.

True hope and change can only be found in Christ. Years ago, a British newspaper ran a feature asking the people of Britain to write in and share with them what they thought was the problem with our world. G.K. Chesterton rose to the challenge. He wrote, "Dear Editor, What is wrong with our world? I am. Sincerely, G.K. Chesterton."

When all is said and done, the vast majority of problems and evils in this world come from the problem of evil in the human heart.

One individual was complaining to a friend, stating that he could never believe in God because of the problems he saw around him. His friend responded, "Forget for a minute about the problems you see around you, what about the problems you find within you? How do you deal with the evil you find in your own heart?"

The Apostle Paul knew of this struggle when he wrote, "I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can't. I do what I don't want to, what I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience proves that I agree with these laws I am breaking. But I can't help myself because I'm no longer doing it.

"It is sin inside me that is stronger than I am that makes me do these evil things. I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn I can't make myself do right. I want to but I can't. When I want to do good, I don't; and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway." (Romans 7:15 19, The Living Bible)

Politicians can pass laws that may restrain evil for a time, but they cannot change the heart that invents the evil. Education doesn't help in this area either.

Back in the 1800s, a young man was caught stealing from the railroad company he worked for. The owner felt the young man had potential and thought if he could get him a good education, it would solve the problem. Unfortunately, the good education just helped the individual eventually steal the whole company from his benefactor. It wasn't an issue of knowledge; it was an issue of the heart.

Science has done wonderful things. But even in its advances, there have been those who have used science simply as a means of making bigger and better bombs. Again, the problem is one of the human heart.

True hope and change is not going to come from the White House, nor is it going to come from the courthouse, nor from the houses of Congress. If you want real hope and change -- hope and change that will last -- allow Christ to change your heart, then you will truly discover a hope that lasts.

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit the Gateway website at www.gatewaycommunity.org