Why History Repeats Itself

Written by Jeff Carlson on .

newspapermanAs I survey the news today, I was struck by the profound ignorance and confusion going on in the world today at the hands of our leaders. It seems as if everyone has totally forgotten what happened in the past and has learned nothing from history or previous disasters. The philosopher George Santayana was famously quoted as saying, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I am sure most, if not all, of our leaders today have heard that line at one time or another. The problem is that most just don’t believe it applies to them. According to them, ours is a new time, things are much different now.

Of course long before Santayana was born, the Bible said the same thing in Ecclesiastes 1:9 where it states, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” The Bible is quite clear that history repeats itself because humanity has never changed. People are fallen by nature and so they are going to make the same mistakes and sins over and over again. The reason why we don’t learn from the past is because of pride. Pride stops people from believing they are infected with the same sins and problems as past generations. As a result, most of our leaders today have conveniently forgotten the past so they can be our “savior” themselves, bypassing the Lord Jesus Christ and believing the Lie in the Garden, “You shall be as god.”

Right now we are heading toward World War III because our leaders have forgotten the lessons of the past about negotiating with the tyrants like we see in Iran, and about seeking a phony peace where there is none. The last major time people forgot that lesson was during the 1930’s when about 60 million people died during World War II because the West refused to stand up to Hitler. The Book of Revelation speaks to this same issue and even talks about the numbers that will die in the future in places like Revelation 9:15. Such sobering passages are not likely to show up for discussion during a White House press conference or even in most pulpits.

Now the problem with this kind of blunt reality is just that... too much reality. All of us have the tendency to want the “happy pill” to ignore the reality around us. That is why most politicians and pulpits in America have become so politically correct. We don’t want to offend anyone by saying anything too hard. We don’t want to change. We don’t want to repent. This is also why many of our politicians today call themselves “progressives.” They believe in human progress. They believe that if we just work a little harder we can do it ourselves. Forget the past.

I must confess seeing this spirit in myself. We all have been deceived on some level to believe that we can somehow make it without the Lord Jesus. We subtly change John 15:5 from “apart from Me you can do nothing” to “apart from Me you can do something.” We have all allowed our flesh to creep in and believed lies that our day is “new.” We simply have forgotten the lessons from the past so history will always repeat itself in every generation, even ours.

May our Lord show us our pride and sin and reveal our need for His grace and forgiveness as we turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and live anew.