I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been sidelined by life, and the unexpected death of a dear family member. There have been a number of people in my circle and community who have died “too young” lately, and it causes me to ponder the state of the souls around me. It seems that every time I get online, I get distracted by the news. Its almost never good. I don’t have TV in my home for a reason, and the depressing state of cultural affairs is a good one, but not the only. Still, I try to stay in the know about what is going on in our community and abroad. As I follow the news, this is what I’m gathering about our culture: Discrimination and racism seem to be issues that just aren’t going anywhere. Sometimes the claims are legitimate, sometimes they seem to purposely stir dissension and are used as false accusations when someone gets angry about something. Gang and drug activity, and violent crime rates in general either seem to be on the rise, or are being over-reported. We have become used to seeing mass shootings here and there. National debt, illegal immigration, welfare, healthcare, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, and the shrinking middle class are issues the government is having trouble addressing.
Sex is a major issue in our culture; people are so confused and lost. The devastating results of the actions of those caught in this trap are particularly sickening and heart breaking to me. In the fray are those preying on children either through child pornography, chat rooms and online sex, rape of children in public restrooms, and even abduction. Added to the growing list of things for parents to worry about: baby monitors are being hacked. Perhaps most troubling are the stories of pedophiles that commonly befriend families for years, slowly “grooming” the child, and gaining parental and child trust, by caring for the child, giving gifts and taking on special outings. Once the relationship is solid, abuse ensues, and the child is coerced to be silent, while parents are either unsuspecting, or don’t believe once a child is brave enough to reveal the ugly truth. A recent article told of toys sold with a symbol for pedophiles, signaling that the child with the toy is a target.
Sex offenders, are becoming more and more prevalent and seem to be getting fewer and fewer penalties. (Just do a search for registered offenders in your area, noting how much jail time they’ve had. You may be surprised and looking for a new residence.) Sex trafficking is a growing problem, and the latest article I read on the topic suggests new targets are toddlers in supermarkets with their mothers. Once abducted, children may be brought to the border and sold overseas. More and more teachers are getting convicted of sleeping with their students, or of sexual misconduct with minors (at least three just in my local area in the last year.) There are epidemic rates of pornography use and sexual addiction. The media promotes promiscuity and sexual freedom and the messages bombard and saturate our youth culture. There is news of the latest naked picture or video of a different celebrity every time I try to check my email, and it makes me realize how constantly this stuff is in our little boys’ and husbands’ faces all the time. I don’t find it ironic that I read of more and more children are using the internet and texting to post nude photos and videos of themselves, and of others.
Cyberbullying and suicide rates among teens seem to coincide and increase. It seems to be acceptable and even inevitable for affairs and divorce to happen; these are no longer shocking events, but daily news and commonplace. What with the sanctity of marriage being so honored and all, we should not be surprised that the definition of family is shifting. There are more single parents, struggling to do a two person job. There is a gender fluidity/gender neutrality/trans-gender movement that we are persuaded to embrace, lest we be labeled discriminatory bigots. If we don’t support and accept the LGBT community, our businesses may be taken to court and sued. There is an agenda to teach new definitions of gender (choose your own, or none at all) and sexual identity, along with practices, in public k-12 schools. Planned parenthood and politicians are backing later term abortion with no limits. There seems to be a coincidental growth in lack of respect for law enforcement, military, and the elderly, and more ignorance about our government and history than ever before. And don’t get me started on election and political issues! Then, let’s add in a few international issues: war, ISIS, terrorists, genocide, persecution. It seems contradictory to me that even with all of this going on, it is very uncommon to have faith in God or Jesus in the largest generation yet, the millennials.
These are any number of stories I will see on a daily basis, and anyone of them is enough to convince me to move to a deserted island with my children, leaving all of it behind. I have a tendency to be frightened and overwhelmed by the vastness of moral decline. Let’s face it, the world we live in often seems like a dark, scary place with little hope for the future. It makes me angry at times, that this is the environment I am bringing my children into, but mostly just so sad. As a Christian I must keep in mind that I was placed in this time and this season, and I was called for a purpose.
It becomes clearer everyday that we live in a lost and hurting world. Even people who think they are liberated are often lost and don’t know it. So many distractions keep us from coming face to face with the depth our depravity, and the fallen state of our souls. However, that can’t go on forever. At some point, even the most proud will have to stop running and realize the extent of their own brokenness. I did, and I’m so thankful. I could’ve kept running, but I was tired of the emptiness. I knew there was more. These stories in the news fill me with sadness because I was there, lost at one time, and didn’t even know it. I am moved with compassion because I realize, if I had kept meandering down the broad path of destruction, I may have been one of the people in these stories. But God, in his great grace has saved me from that life. I know God will use the time I spent in worldliness to His glory as he shows me how to relate to those who are hurting, through my own story of pain.
When I am tempted to run away to my own little utopia, or just ignore the world outside, I remember that I am called to be a light in this world of darkness. So I grab my children, hold them close, and continue my ascent on the narrow path. I hope to teach them to do the same. I want them to grasp the only hope and answer I have found to all of this: faith in Jesus Christ. We can be the difference. We can live a life set apart, as difficult and at times unappealing as it may seem. We can be calm and loving in the face of adversity; we can offer hurting people a place to heal. We can be the change of this generation, and the next. We can teach our children limits, and discipline. We can refuse to be “luke-warm,” and “go with the flow” of current events. We can stop being blind, numb, passive, and/or silent about what the culture says is acceptable, and take a stand on what we know to be right: the truth we find in the Bible. We can refuse to watch shows, listen to songs, and vote for politicians that violate our beliefs. We can put filters on our internet and save our children (and ourselves) from the pain and misery that they will surely find there if they are left alone. Yes, we can stop letting the media seep into our minds, and stop being blindsided by allowing one small moral shift at a time, till we wake up face down in a ditch of our own making, a little too late.
We can deal with our own sin and issues, so we can be an example to others. We can refuse to accept the things that we know will bring death to our souls, and stop giving ourselves away a little at a time. We can live an unusual life of purity, we can stand with boldness in who we are, and make others look, and think twice. We can exhibit the joy we have found in freedom from being slaves to sin and shame, and in being heirs in the kingdom of Christ. We can stop being angry ranters who accomplish nothing but hatred, and a tainted taste for people who go by the title Christian, and we can remember that we aren’t fighting against flesh and blood. There is an invisible war here: a war for our minds, our emotions, and our hearts. The enemy of our souls is rampant, and he is out to devour anyone with their guard down. We need to stand in unity, and help others get out of danger. We can give the love we so freely receive to those who are desperate for it. We can let the kindness of Jesus draw in others with opposing views, rather than push them away. We can serve others, and show them a better way.
If you’re like me, and so many other people I know, the headlines you hear leave you outraged, and you are demanding change. But we can’t just keep, hoping, wishing, and praying for change to take place. We have to BE the change. This is the only answer. Jesus says He is THE way THE truth, and THE life. He wasn’t just some nice man who said a lot of good things, who we’ll give a shout out to, while we continue unchanged in the way we live. No, if you truly accept Him, He will change everything about you, and living for Him is the only way to make a lasting impact in this present age. In the Bible, we are called a city on a hill. If we don’t start acting as different as we are, how will anyone be convinced our faith is genuine or worth it? Lastly, if you love Jesus, then you must love people; the two cannot be separated. I care, as my faith necessitates, about people’s souls. “The Lord is not willing that anyone should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” 2 Peter 3:9. I am committed to swimming solidly upstream, no matter how strong the “current.” I want to create a wake behind me, a mighty wave that will turn the tide, and cause those around to feel it, to pause, and want to follow. Let’s give them a taste of the living water that we are surrounded by in the midst of their contaminated, turbid flow. You are the agent of change the world is waiting on. Will you join me?
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Ephesians 4:17-19 You must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
Galatians 5:19-21 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 13:12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.