What matters

14 06 2008

The world carries on. The media continue to pour out our daily diet of the misdoings of people. Just once in a while it is good news, but good news they say doesn’t sell, so mostly it is not good news. Earthquakes come and go. Floods come and go. Days at work or school or college pass and suddenly we are in the middle of 2008 and you wonder where it has gone.

In many churches the congregations will have heard, quite possibly, over 40 sermons and sung goodness knows how many hymns or songs. Committees will have fretted over minor issues as if they had something to do with the end of the world.  On the international stage the fiasco in Zimbabwe goes from one terrible stage to another while the world looks on helplessly. America breathes a sigh of relief as Democrats pause up in their internal war. In Britain the government at Westminster still plays the terror trump and moves yet another step along the path of removing freedom, while Gordon Brown goes ever deeper into the doldrums. Some organisation reports that anger is a major issue in our society and the rest of us wonder why it took for so long for someone to acknowledge it.  Column writers pour out words of worry about the declining state of society and some of us wonder again why it is taking for so long to face our state – and even more how long will it be that we will have to wait for a correct diagnosis.

Should you find yourself on this page, have that diagnosis before the rest of the world wakes up to it.  You probably won’t like it but any other diagnosis merely tinkers  with the bits and pieces of the machine and fails to see the overall picture.  The Bible paints a frightening scenario. It is that God has the ability to bless people and nations with goodness and success, yet when a person or nation decides to purposefully turn away from Him, He respects their decision and stands back and lets them reap the consequences. The consequences are becoming more and more apparent as the papers and TV attest every day. A chilling truth comes out of the pages of the New Testament, that is so obvious that no thinking person would deny it: “A man reaps what he sows.”

Both Britain and the USA have had a Christian heritage, one which today we take for granted and have essentially discarded and with it a fixed and stable morality, absolutes, and the ability to say “This is right. This is wrong. ”  We have abandoned God and the column inches tell the tell of our downfall. When the sun shines we feel good for a few minutes. Many of us take our minds off the anguish of modern life by watching European football or choosing lottery numbers, while the economy totters and the pundits use ever worsening words to describe the state of the world.

If you think I exaggerate or my diagnosis is wrong, do your own measuring of our society and see what you think. Check out these words against the norms of our society and see how well it fares: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” In so many people these are utterly alien words. Yes they do exist in some but essentially these are absent from TV soaps, TV news, TV programmes and from our world at large.

A danger of a discussion such as this, is that we think of ‘them’ out there. They are the ones for whom modern life is an anguish, they are the ones who have abandoned God, they are the ones for whom that list above is just a dream. But that list is the fruit that comes from knowing God (Gal 5:22), but most of us live in an unthankful  gloom (Rom 1:21), living in denial.  We have listened to the lies of the one who whispers, “It will be all right” and “Did God really say that?” and so live out our existence under the cloud of self-centered godlessness, instead of in the bright light of God’s love and wonder. It doesn’t have to stay like that!

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