History is filled with dictators who ruled with an iron fist, bringing untold suffering to their subjects. Of course, that is not true of all rulers.
Some may have the best of intentions for their fellowmen. However, once they are in power, they often find that their efforts are frustrated by
infighting and power struggles. Or they may abuse their power for personal gain, to the detriment of the people. “History is a tale of efforts that
failed, of aspirations that weren’t realized,” said former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
The Bible also points out: “It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) Imperfect humans lack the
necessary wisdom and foresight to manage all their own affairs successfully. If people cannot direct their own steps, how can they direct the steps of
a nation? Can you see why human rulers do not have the ability to eliminate suffering? In fact, more often than not, bad government, or rulership, is
the cause of suffering!
“By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves,” said Jesus.—John 13:35.
Religious leaders of every creed and denomination preach love and unity. The reality is that they have failed to instill in their followers a love
strong enough to eliminate biases. Rather than helping to cultivate love, religion often contributes to the division, bigotry, and strife among
peoples and national groups. In the conclusion of his book Christianity and the World Religions
, theologian Hans Küng wrote: “The most
fanatical, the cruelest political struggles are those that have been colored, inspired, and legitimized by religion.”
“Each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin.”—James
All of us, because of inherited imperfection, are prone to errors and mistakes and have to fight against the desire for “doing the things willed by
the flesh.” (Ephesians 2:3) When wrong desire coincides with opportunity, however, the battle can be especially challenging. If we give in to
hurtful desire, the results can be devastating.
Author P. D. Mehta wrote: “A vast amount of suffering is due to our own lust, to our feverish pleasure-seeking and self-indulgence, to our greed and
our ambition.” Cravings and addictions of all kinds—alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, and so on—have ruined many “respectable citizens”
and have brought suffering to their family, friends, and others. In view of mankind’s imperfect nature, I have to agree when the Bible says: “It
is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail.”—Romans 8:22, The New
Testament in Modern English
, by J. B. Phillips.
The Bible reveals that Satan is “the god of this system of things” and that he is joined by powerful wicked spirits called demons.—2
Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9.
Like Satan, the demons are actively engaged in controlling and misleading people. The apostle Paul acknowledged this when he said: “We have a
wrestling, not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the
wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.”—Ephesians 6:12.
Some two thousand years ago, the Bible foretold: “Know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here.”
Pointing out what makes the times critical, it goes on to say: “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, . . .
having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong,
puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” Surely a key reason for all the suffering we see today is that we are living
in “the last days.”—2 Timothy 3:1-4.
In view of the factors here considered, is it not clear why humans are unable to put an end to suffering, despite their good intentions? Where, then,
can we turn for help? We must look to our Creator, who has promised to “break up the works of the Devil” and his followers. (1 John 3:8) The
following article discusses what God will do to eliminate all causes of suffering:
The End of Suffering Is at Hand!