I was having breakfast this morning with my accountability partner and we were talking about world events, including the shooting in Las Vegas. My buddy made the comment that it seems as if evil is more prevalent today than he remembers in the past.
What crossed my mind was this: “As the Christian church is marginalized in our society, evil becomes more bold.”
I’m not sure there’s more evil here today than in the past, but evil certainly is more out of the shadows and more evident than in the past. I think the reason has to do with our society’s acceptance of evil and shunning of Christianity.
No, of course I’m not saying that society accepts shootings such as the one in Vegas. But I am saying that given our society’s penchant for moral relativism, things that society would have considered untenable in previous generations are now accepted norms. Let me list a handful.
Disrespect – Growing up we were taught to respect our elders, the authorities, our teachers and each other. Today, there is an accepted incivility that runs through our social and mainstream media, our politics, via our celebrities and in our communities that contributes to everything from bullying to murder. We not only disrespect each other, but we disrespect the authorities God has placed over us from the police and the government, to God Himself. And we’re okay with that!
Sexual Sin – While I grew up in the 60s and 70s, I don’t subscribe to the popular notion, “If it feels good do it!” I was taught sex before marriage is bad; adultery is bad, promiscuous sex is bad, lust is bad, objectifying women is bad and much more. Today – meh. Statistics say 50 percent of men cheat. Waiting until marriage for sex is old-fashioned. Hooking up is the thing. Lust and objectifying women is how we sell everything from burgers to beer – it’s now the norm not the exception. Very few Hollywood movies can escape the studio without at least one sex scene. A book basically about sexual bondage sold 70 million copies! Heck, even my Christian friends posted RIP notices on their Facebook when Hugh Hefner of Playboy fame died – the most hedonistic, misogynist, objectifying man alive! Poor guy dies, rest in peace. Really?
Disunity – Satan uses the old divide and conquer method to get us to attack each other and we think we’re right in doing so. Haven’t you seen how bold he has been creating special interest groups on every side of an issue, spurring hate toward each other instead of unity in our humanity? While man has always had disagreements, it’s been nothing like we have in America today because there is no unifying institution with the moral authority to hold things together, such as the church, as there was in the past. Every day I read posts on my Facebook feed about how someone hates another person, or how some groups hates another group. And then I am kind of shocked to see all the comments below the post supporting that hate! And Satan laughs…
Racial Unrest – I never thought it would happen in my lifetime that we’d actually go backwards from the gains of the civil rights movement, but it seems that is just where we are heading! Not because America had really healed over the issue, but because evil is so emboldened that people now openly engage in racism as if it’s 1950 Mississippi again! Yet, the response has not been MLK like. Instead, it’s been more visceral and in-kind, attacking not just those who make racist comments, but the entire white population, dividing by race even those who probably agree on the topic.
I’m sure you can think of more examples than I have here, but you can see the pattern. What was once evil in the shadows among the minority has become accepted norms of our society, embraced by everyone from non-believers to even many Christians, who, by the way, fight among themselves as ferociously as any of the groups I’ve named.
Why is all this happening? I humbly suggest it’s because Christianity is no longer the dominant cultural standard in our society. Christianity’s set of absolute moral values – we used to call it right and wrong – is no longer the measure by which we judge our actions as a society. Instead, we judge out actions on how we feel about any given thing and, of course, our feelings are never wrong so we act on them viscerally.
- Someone offends us and we respond with ugly accusations.
- If we want to do something and feel as if it won’t affect another person, we do it whether the action in and of itself is right or wrong.
- When we strongly disagree with someone, we feel as if we have the absolute right to call them Hitler or Satan or some other derogatory term.
- We have become so self-absorbed that the only thing that matters in our decision-making is how we feel about our decision not the consequences of that decision, which is why many are so surprised when things actually don’t work out as they thought and there are consequences to suffer – it’s so unfair, right?
- We no longer feel as if we need God in our lives, because things seem to be going pretty well without Him.
But all this so-called “Post-Christian” thinking is a big lie perpetrated by Satan to get us to believe that we can and should act in way contrary to how our creator has told us to act. So, here’s a little reminder:
- Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
- Pray for your leaders because God has chosen all leaders (good and bad).
- Turn the other cheek – don’t take offense at anything anyone says or does.
- Consider others better than yourselves – respect everyone.
- Do not lie, cheat, or steal.
- Do not judge people – you don’t have any idea about them.
- Stand up for the widows and oppressed.
- Serve others with your financial and personal wealth.
- Love God and love each other.
The reason evil seems so prevalent today is because the light of Christ is in retreat in our churches. Many of our churches are embracing the culture because they want to be loved by men instead of God. Other of our churches seemingly have forgotten the love of God for all His children and have bunker mentality and have stopped going out to share that love with the lost sheep. Evil revels in such environments.
I wish I had the answer, but I really don’t. I don’t know how to galvanize the Church to take back its rightful place as the spiritual and moral leader of our nation. Perhaps that ship has sailed. Perhaps it is now a time for those of us who consider ourselves disciples of Jesus to put on our armor and stand our ground, sharing the light of Christ anywhere we can as the darkness continues to creep in. I just don’t know.
But here’s what I do know. God is sovereign. He is still and always will be on His throne. I do see Christ when neighbors help each other in Houston during a crisis. I see Christ when I see men protecting women from an onslaught of bullets in Las Vegas. I see Christ when the church and other donate millions upon millions of dollars not only in disaster relief, but for community social service programs. I see Christ as Christians join hands with community leaders to fight sex trafficking, drugs, gangs, homelessness, and more. I see Christ every day in my community and while it seems as if Satan has been bolder than he’s been in my lifetime, I know that there are Christians out there like me who will do everything we can to stand our ground and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ, which makes Satan a defeated foe.
Jesus actually told us this would happen, then He told us not to worry about such things because they must come to pass. We are to put our hope in Him, keep our eyes firmly on Heaven, and do the thing God created us to do – Love Him and love each other. If we can just do that simple thing, we’ll all be okay!