April 24th, 2012 by Kristi Stephens
“…for a moment I lie there, digesting what I’ve heard. Not only is Peeta with the Careers, he’s helping them find me…” – The Hunger Games, pg. 163
A recurring theme throughout the Hunger Games trilogy is Katniss not knowing who to trust.
She can’t trust her mother to care for her.
She doesn’t understand Peeta’s actions and motives.
She doesn’t trust Haymitch to be sober long enough to help her.
She clearly can’t trust the government, and never is sure what anyone in the Capitol will do to her or because of her.
She’s not even sure if she can trust herself.
We’re never quite sure if the “good guys” are really good, even when we know that the “bad guys” really are bad. Lines between good and evil, right and wrong, are blurry.
Betrayal is a common theme to our humanity. In the Garden of Eden, the moment Adam and Eve hear the sound of their Lord walking in the garden, they are prepared to quickly throw blame on one another. Their son Cain kills his brother Abel in cold blood. Joseph is thrown into a pit and sold into slavery by his own brothers. Aaron and Miriam (as well as hundreds of other leaders) rebel against their brother Moses’ divinely-appointed leadership. Saul turns on David and attempts to spear him to the wall, and then spends years hunting him like an animal. David’s own son later rebels against his father and declares himself king, along with support from some of David’s most trusted friends.
Traitors and backstabbers fill the pages of Scripture. And dare we not forget the member of Jesus’ inner circle who betrayed Him with a kiss.
We find this reality painted vividly around us in our broken world. Trusted religious leaders embroiled in disgusting scandal. Elected officials betraying the confidence of voters and abusing power to their own ends. Police corruption. School shootings. Sexual predators where you least expect to find them. And no doubt, every single one of us has felt deeply betrayed personally by someone we trusted and relied on.
I feel for Katniss – in a world of broken sinners, where even the good guys do bad things, who can we trust?
One of the haunting things to me about the fictional world of Panem is the lack of any external standard for what is right and what is wrong, outside of the moral impulses and loyalties of the individual characters. In a world where there is no God, everyone does what is right in their own eyes. There is no external moral compass to turn to when life gets muddy – those who hold the power determine the rules. Those caught in the crossfire in Panem feel that what is happening to them is wrong, but we find that when the “good guys” have a chance, they often make disturbing and abusive choices, as well. As Josh McDowell says, without an absolute standard of morality, “might makes right.”
In Mark 10:18, Jesus makes a statement that often hangs in my mind – “No one is good—except God alone.” Think about that. No one. Romans 3:23 echoes this statement – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No one is good. All have sinned.
If we are relying on human intellect – no matter how trustworthy it may seem – to determine what is right and best, we are in deep trouble. Only God is good. He is the only standard for what is good and right and true. Without Him we are lost on a sea of our own desires and twisted gut impulses.
In this broken world, we will be betrayed at some point. We will be lied to. Those we trust will abuse their power. But in my God and in His Word I find Truth that sets me free and gives me clarity. With my way illuminated by the Light of the World I can see. And when even the “good guys” do bad things and my heart is broken and bleeding, when I myself do bad things and leave others broken and bleeding, I cling to this – no one is good but God alone. The sinfulness of humanity has never tainted His goodness. He is good when we are not. And as Creator and Sovereign Lord of the universe, I can rest in His goodness when I don’t understand what is unfolding in the arena of my life.
He is the only solid rock on which to stand – all other ground is sinking sand.