Looking around today and seeing what is happening in our society makes one think that this is what it must have been for Lot as described in 2 Peter 2:7, “distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless”. This used to call up pictures of evil-looking sinister characters in my mind, lurking around doing horrible things that most would disapprove. But our mortal enemy – the lawless one – is so cunning that he has introduced lawlessness as our right – even our responsibility! The entrenched enemy of humanity is a master psychologist and brilliantly tailors his lies to our situation. The”angel of light” cleverly intent on deceiving is also the “roaring lion seeking to devour”. Massive misdirection about the human condition, divisive hatred for those who disagree with one’s perspective, suspicion and diminishment of someone who is different – along with the appeal to the sanctity of individual privilege – are the ingredients for a disaster recipe. The subtle (and not so subtle) insinuation of the individual as ascendant over the group is reaping havoc on ordered moral culture, since morality – of whatever persuasion – is by definition concerned the ethics of human interaction.
What grieves my heart down to the core is the collateral damage that such a selfish mindset engenders. I am thinking about a friend who devotes her energy and invests her emotions to a shelter for abandoned children – some with babies. Abused, neglected, exploited, deserted young women who have no family support system to guide and sustain them have a range of attitudes, as one can imagine – from surly and combative to depressed and hopeless. The girls reap life-altering consequences of looking for love and acceptance in sexual encounters that leave them with a child they are ill equipped and often totally unwilling to care for. The boys, in isolation from a healthy outlet for masculine protective instincts, become pack animals replacing family structure with gangs. In a culture which refuses to insist on personal accountability and responsibility, but instead focuses on “fixing” the aftermath, the pain and suffering are carried by the true victims – the children who had no choice in the mindset. These children face snowballing insurmountable odds against having any semblance of a fulfilling and happy life. The cycle is not only repetitive but vicious and cruelly destructive. The Lie has been bought and paid for by the innocents who are doomed to repeat it.
What, as believers, is our responsibility as ones “rescued from the domain of darkness and brought into the kingdom of the Beloved Son”? I love the hearts of my children who risk so much to rescue child victims from the horrors of trafficking. I am amazed at the price they are willing to pay to adopt children who would have otherwise would have little chance of escaping the cycle of poverty with its attendant devastation. I am so inspired by their involvement with community programs that often succeed in breaking the cycle by education and involvement in lives. I stand amazed at their heartfelt inclusion of refugees and the marginalized in their homes and hearts. And I see in them a picture of the Church and the possibilities.
We are those who have received immeasurable and undeserved kindness from One Who paid an unimaginable price to rescue us from the domain of darkness. Following His footsteps as ‘disciples’, would it not stand to reason that we would make a difference by our thoughtful participation in His Kingdom? Perhaps it would be worth taking some time to prayerfully seek God. Is it possible we have neglected part of our call as Salt and Light? As disciples are we ready to learn what path He wishes for us to take? We may need to rethink and reroute. Are we willing to admit it if we have strayed? Jesus says ” All those whom I love I correct and discipline. Therefore, shake off your complacency and repent.” Perhaps in our attitude we have been “conformed to this world”. Opinions formed by our political or cultural peers rather that by the heart of God need to be sifted out and replaced. Perhaps we have become critical or unkind. An obedient life begins with obedient thoughts, so find out for yourself what His thoughts are. Taking our Bible and a prayer notebook to a secluded spot at our favorite coffee shop and honestly seeking His direction that might end up being the very thing that affects another life for eternity.
Maybe He wants you to be involved physically – maybe financially – maybe both. Maybe you are prayer support. The path you are called to follow may not look like that of your friends. What matters is the path that God has for you! One danger is to get fired up and just “do something” that seems right. In this matter “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don’t put your confidence in your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path” (Proverbs 3:5-6) seems like a good piece of advice. As Oswald Chambers so succinctly points out “The enemy to God’s best is not the evil, it’s the good.” So, yes, we must have correct doctrine – less abstractly, we must know what God wants. Then we must take action!! But in all of our doing, let us not leave God out of the equation. In our human activity there is the cooperation of heaven if we invoke it. Ultimately there may be the opportunity to announce the love of God as we rely on the Spirit to guide us. We must be ready to speak the Truth in love. Acting may save a life. Speaking may save a soul!!
Enjoy companion thoughts from our dear brother Dallas Willard with his inimitable perspectives on kingdom life: Words from our friend Dallas Willard