Friday, August 30, 2002

What Did We Expect?

The world is shocked, appalled, devastated, surprised, disappointed by the many discoveries of corporate fraud motivated by greed. But what did we expect?

The older generation looks at the lack of morals and values by so many in the younger generation and wonders what the world will be in a couple of decades. But what did we expect?

Those who enjoy sports cannot believe that millionaires who get to play baseball for a living would even consider going on strike. But what did we expect?

The entertainment industry is constantly pushing the envelope on what is allowable in TV, movies and music until it appears most is unfit for human consumption. But what did we expect?

And those of us who are striving to present the message of hope and love in Christ struggle to find many who are interested in the depths of what God offers. But what did we expect?

A society that has no sense of absolutes is bound to experience the harvest of that lack. Harvesting is that way. A little history. In the fifties the music industry pushed on the boundaries of absolutes and found them to be softening. But Elvis and some of the others didn’t seem too harmful and so we said, “Okay.” In the sixties the prosperity of the post world war economy, the “if it feels good, do it” attitude and the questioning of moral absolutes came together in an unparalleled rebelliousness in America. Everything was up for grabs. Christians were thrown backwards by the sheer blatantness of it all. The root of relativism was planted and selfishness became king. Moral absolutes were abandoned as prayer was taken out of school, the Ten Commandments no longer ruled, and relativism replaced religion.

The seventies were a continuation of the sixties without the riots. Instead a steady revolution continued to undermine right and wrong. The eighties and nineties saw the kids from the sixties take positions of corporate and governmental power. They had not changed except that now they wore ties instead of tie died T-shirts. Though they possessed position they had never recovered the absolutes they abandoned decades before. Instead of a plumb line of right and wrong to guide them, they pursued a path of selfishness, rule bending and relativism. It simmered underneath the surface for the most part until recent events. Then the moral vacuum was exposed as the corruption hit the national spotlight.

But what did we expect? That a society without absolutes would somehow find its way to honesty, integrity, character and fairness to all? No, we’ve reaped what we’ve sown. Corruption, self-serving actions, destruction of thousands of retirement benefits, and favoritism have rippled throughout the world. Decency standards in entertainment have been worn away and the industry is influencing folks to lower standards even further.

"The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:8-9 (NIV)

But what did we expect? The only sure way to reap anything different is to reestablish absolutes. There must be some standard to hold us strong when the tests and temptations of life come. Otherwise everything is up for grabs. But absolutes are of little value unless they are founded on something that is absolute. Where do we turn? Remember those Ten Commandments that were once displayed in every school classroom? That’s it. From there we can move to open up the rest of the Bible, God’s authoritative truth, to discover the absolutes to live by in every situation.

How can we influence an entire nation that has lost its way? The same way the absolutes have been worn away – by consistently, persistently living them out individually and influencing those around us one person at a time. A return to God and His absolutes will not happen by mandate, but by individuals and groups of people living by God’s standards in His power for His purposes. We will not see an immediate difference. We may not even see much in our lifetime. But we dare not stand idly by, throwing rocks at the lack of morality in frustration. Rather let’s be the light that shines the way for those who desire to find God.

Then what can we expect? At least a group of people who desire God and strive to live by His standards. And who knows where the ripples of that might go! NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF GOD WORKING THROUGH THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.

So are you with me? One day at a time. One person at a time. In every situation, from the smallest, seemingly insignificant decision to the huge things in life, living by God’s absolutes. Let’s do it together.

"He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches." 33 He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough."" Matthew 13:31-33 (NIV)

No comments: