[preface] When I was 16, I wrecked my father’s brand new car. It was the only time he ever “switched” me. But I deserved it, because if I had been more attentive, it wouldn’t have happened. One of the few times I had to spank my children was when they were playing with fire in the shed and almost burned it down—and with it possibly our house and others’. I wasn’t “punishing” them; I was training them with words of admonition coupled with a “memory moment”.
Unfortunately, we often equate “discipline” with punishment. But punishment and discipline are radically different. Punishment is meant to somehow extract a “payment” for what was done… a form of retribution or a leveling of the books or scales. Discipline, on the other hand, has a fruitful purpose and objective in mind… a means of training or molding the person into someone better.
Consider 1 John 4:17-18
"By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love."
This is interesting: “…fear involves punishment”.
John is obviously talking here about a fear of “punishment” instead of the reverent “fear” that one has before a holy and omnipotent God. Under God’s grace, the entirety of His wrath, reserved for us, was poured out upon Jesus. As a result, there’s nothing left for us to be “punished” for. If punishment is a means by which we “pay” for what we’ve done, then punishment would never be able to “save” us from out sins, for you and I are hopelessly unable to pay for even the smallest breach of God’s holiness. What? Am I to think that maybe 10 years in prison would pay for my sins? What about 100 years? If so, I think too little of my sin and too little of God’s holiness. This is why those who are not in Christ will be separated from God for eternity. I suppose one could say that even after an eternity, there is still an eternity of payment left.
This is why Jesus had to pay for ALL of it.
And, that is why it is called “good news”.
For if Jesus had paid only part of our penalty, even as much as 99.999999% of it, the balance due from us would be infinitely more than we could ever “pay”, no matter how severe or deep… or long the punishment.
There is no fear in true agape love, John tells us, because there is no punishment remaining. And, that is why he says we will have confidence in the day of judgment. Not a confidence in ourselves, but in the radical grace of God. So if you still live your life in fear of punishment before God, then there are two possibilities: 1) you have never really come to know Him and the grace of His love; or 2) you may be in Christ, but you have yet to fully understand His grace, believing the lie that you must pay for some part of your sins, or that you have to “balance them out” through good works.
This is foolish, for we can do neither. Who are we to believe that our “punishment” is sufficient to pay for even smallest portion of our sin or that our most ardent attempts at righteousness are sufficient to make us holy?
When you pull your salvation back under the law, Paul refers to this as “falling away from grace” for you have left the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning work, placing yourself back under the “curse” of the law, which can only condemn. Because our “righteousness is as filthy rags” in the presence of a Holy God, any punishment is insufficient payment for the depth of our unholiness. Only One can make us holy; only One can pay for our sins. And that Someone is Christ, accomplished through His propitiation.
Oh, my! How deep is the love of God and how rich is His grace towards us! We are in awe of His amazing grace, poured out upon us without any merit of our own… nothing in which we can boast.
However… though we are made righteous in the sight of God through Christ’s work, yet we still live and walk in this world, a son of Adam, burdened with a sinful nature that is contrary to the Lord’s will. Therefore, we stray… we sin… we fall woefully short. Yet, we remain as His children. And God, as a good Father, treats us as true sons and not as illegitimate. And because of this, He disciplines us:
“… you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, 'My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives...” Hebrews 12:5-6
The Greek word here for “discipline” is “paideia”. This is a very, very interesting word and we must take the time to examine what it means.
The Greeks believed the individual should be molded into the “ideal”. The word “paideia” was used to describe the means by which the individual was to be trained and molded into this ideal. It carried the notion of perfection or excellence in intellectual, moral and physical characteristics… the model Greek.
The Scripture uses this term in all of the New Testament passages that refer to God’s disciplinary actions toward us. He is not punishing us, but he is training us, molding us, forming and transforming us more and more into the likeness of the ultimate Ideal, Christ.
It is spurred on by an affectionate zeal to enhance, not by a punitive fist.
This is why Christ says in Revelation 3:19
"Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent."
The discipline of the Lord shapes us, so that we grow in the right direction, just as one would prune a Bonsai tree into a desired form. Or as the vinedresser, He prunes us like a grape vine so that we might produce more fruit:
“… He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." Hebrews 12: 10-11
As earthly fathers, we are enjoined to do the same:
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4
Why? Because we desire our children to be fruitful, to flourish, to bring God glory in all they do. This is what true discipline seeks and this is the discipline the Lord uses to form us more and more into His Ideal.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training [root: paideia] us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age… “ Titus 2:11-12
And though there are physical manifestations of this in our life as God acts through the events around us, it is entirely possible that the primary means of discipline is through the work of the Spirit of Truth as we read His word:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training [root: paideia] in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
God wants to form us into children who are “complete, equipped for every good work”. He uses the Word and the discipline that comes through it to achieve this.
So, we rejoice! For if God did not discipline us, then we would not be His children. Or, another way to put it is this: when you become the child of the King, you will then be subject to His carving and pruning tools… a discipline that is motivated by true agape love.
Don’t kick back at Him. Be thankful in the midst of His discipline.
Ponder these verses throughout this week:
Thus you are to know in your heart that the Lord your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. Deuteronomy 8:5
“For you hate discipline, and you cast My words behind you. Psalm 50:17
My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe His reproof… Proverbs 3:11
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. Proverbs 12:1
A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. Proverbs 13:1
Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, but he who regards reproof will be honored. Proverbs 13:18
He who neglects discipline despises himself, but he who listens to reproof acquires understanding. Proverbs 15:32
Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days. Proverbs 19:20
Apply your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge. Proverbs 23:12
But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:32
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:19
You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”
It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:4-13
Not too long ago I was struck by two incidents that measured how we as a culture are increasingly losing the mettle to stand for our convictions.
The newly crowned Miss USA was asked if she believed that health care was a privilege or a right. She was also asked if she were a feminist. Her answers were contrary to the power of the new beast in our culture and within 24 hours she was forced to bow the knee and recant.
A West Point graduate, Army flight surgeon and war hero was nominated to be the Secretary of the Army. Shortly thereafter, the beast forced him to withdraw because of his stated beliefs. In this case, he didn’t recant, but it is becoming clearer that we are entering a period in which convictions contrary to the beast’s are going to come under fierce attack and possibly disqualify one for significant positions in our culture and even inhibit the commercial right to buy and sell.
Thankfully, the founders weren’t so squeamish. Thankfully, they had a backbone.
Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence, which we celebrate today. The beast in their day was the mighty power of King George and his supreme army and navy. Though the founders believed in their convictions, they knew that the beast would consider it treason, the penalty for which was death. This provided for a most somber and solemn pause in the assembly. It was in the gravity of that moment that Benjamin Franklin quipped something like: “Well gentlemen, we must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately.”
There was no doubt in their minds that to stand up to the beast would prove costly. And cost them it did.
Of the fifty-six, five were captured, tortured and put to death. Twelve had their homes burned down. Two lost sons. Nine died in the ensuing war with the beast. Carter Braxton signed as a wealthy trader and died in rags. Thomas McKeam and his family were driven underground and ended up in poverty. Eight had their properties looted. Thomas Nelson directed the cannon fire on his own beautiful estate, which the British General Cornwallis had converted into his headquarters. After destroying his own home, he died bankrupt. Francis Lewis’ home and property were destroyed and his wife captured and thrown in prison where she died. His son died in British captivity as well. A few months after signing, John Hart was driven from his home where his wife lay dying. He was hunted and hid in caves only to finally return to find his fields and grist mill laid to waste, his wife dead and his thirteen children gone. He died shortly thereafter of exhaustion and a broken heart. Richard Stockton died a broken man after being betrayed by a loyalist, imprisoned, and beaten, returning eventually to find his home gutted. Only days after signing, Lewis Morris found his 2,000-acre farm ravaged, his cattle butchered and his family driven away. Similarly, Arthur Middleton, Edward Rutledge and Thomas Heyward were captured while their estates were burned to the ground. Heyward’s wife died, watching it all.
These men had backbones. They did not recant. They did not retreat. They pledged their “lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” so that a nation built on new foundations might provide liberty to its people. They lost their lives and their fortunes, but not their sacred honor.
Today we fight a new beast. Do we have the same resolve? Are we willing to pledge our lives and fortunes, our sacred honor? Or will we capitulate, bow the knee and take the easy road?
This week, the beast was attempting to force a university in Oklahoma to bow the knee and remove the crosses and Bibles from its chapel. In Denver a baker still battles the beast over his Christian convictions. No question, the beast is huge, his claws are sharp, his teeth are lethal.
But so, too, was King George.
Do we have the backbone to stand?
The Remnant remains for a reason.
In the new release “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” we will be treated with one of our culture’s common threads: vilify all things good.
In the movie, the delightful tradition of a “hero” is once again sacrificed in an attempt to destroy the notion that there is anything truly transcendent…all appearances of good are tainted with evil. We have a penchant for turning heroes into men of shame; sowing seeds of doubt about the righteous warrior; making us suspicious of the saint; dubious of the honorable knight.
This is the enemy’s playground. The world, the flesh, the enemy, and the gravitational pull of a fallen world will continually attempt to make us think that truth and good and honorable and righteous and faith and love and virtue and honor and valor and even male chivalry are to be suspect, to be doubted, to be viewed with skepticism, sensing some selfish and evil agenda hidden behind the veil.
The attack upon good is not new.
Satan convinced Eve that God was oppressive.
Elijah was charged with “troubling Israel”.
Stephen was stoned; Daniel was thrown to the lions; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were put in the furnace, Jeremiah in the stocks; John beheaded; David hunted; the Disciples martyred; the righteous tortured, mocked, imprisoned, stoned, sawn in two, put to the sword.
This is the lot of Right in a fallen world.
But never so much as when the Man of Righteousness was vilified. He was accused though He did no wrong; He was mocked though He was pure; He was scourged though He was perfect; He was crucified though He was blameless.
The world hates right; it hates good; it hates truth and true love; it hates purity and innocence; it hates the wonder of divine marriage; it hates the exclusivity of true sex and one God and absolute Truth.
We celebrate this day, not because we are sadistic, but because of the One who demonstrated true agape love for those who were His enemies. He did not revile, though He was reviled.
The hymn says “It was His love that kept Him there” and it was, for He could have called upon a legion of angels at least or He could have breathed out a word and wiped the entire universe out of existence.
But He didn’t.
And now His Remnant remain in a world that continues to hate what is right and good. It will continue to try to make Batman selfish and Superman vindictive. It will make us suspicious of cops and pastors and husbands and businessmen, not that they are without sin, but with the objective to destroy the design.
It will continually paint believers with all kinds of evil colors and charge us with increasing crimes of the cultural covenants.
But He was crucified and satisfied the wrath of God for us.
Yet the wrath of the world remains and we remain subject to it. But the wrath of the world is nothing compared to what we deserved.
So, we endure with perseverance, changing what can be changed, ever pursuing righteousness in all of life, yet recognizing that the wrath of man is not directed at us, but at Him and all things good.
“And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not grow weary.” Galatians 6:9
Our President will offer, on Tuesday, his State of the Union address. However, it will most likely not be a true state of our nation, but rather another political posturing speech, just like we have heard for years, from both Republicans and Democrats. This is unfortunate, for our nation needs a true, honest assessment of where we are as a culture. It is in that spirit I offer my humble perspective. This is what I would wish for the President to say as he stands before Congress and the American people:
To the people of this great country, I offer to you my honest assessment of the state of our nation…and it is not good.
We are greatly blessed in America. We have abundant resources, rich farmland, and beauty beyond description: from the Grand Canyon to our waterfalls, from our mountains to our coastlands. We have been blessed with great people: people who have come here from all the nations of the earth, seeking the American dream. They have been hard working, good people, courageous in the face of trials and heroic in the face of enemies.
We have been blessed with more than we can enumerate. And, I suppose, the Hollywood and political style would have us gush and fawn over each other in our lofty positions and applaud all kinds of supposed accomplishments as if these blessings come from our own making. It would be in keeping with most of our recent State of the Union addresses to therefore give you a long list of all the grand things that the Federal government needs to do for the American people and to smile and look into the camera and assure them that we are taking good care of them...and things are going quite well.
But they are not.
We are not healthy…
Nor are we strong.
In fact, I believe we are now, more than ever before in the life of this nation, vulnerable to destruction.
This has not come as the result of an external power or force. It has not come from our current war with terrorism.
I do not speak of our military might, but I speak of the state of this nation’s soul.
We hang over a perilous ledge…at best, we are sliding into an insignificant oblivion.
We are in a state of decay…we are rotting away from within.
We have succumbed to a deep selfishness. It is eating away at our character, our strength and our core like an aggressive, unchecked cancer.
Despite all the current cries for secularization, we were founded with a clear belief that the health of this nation would rest upon two foundations: religion and morality. This was not to be understood that religious particulars would be legislated, but that we, as a nation, recognized the fundamental existence of God and His declaration of things that were right and things that were wrong, and that the citizenry would then govern themselves according to those transcendent laws. It was this self-government that allowed for a minimum of civil-government and therefore a maximum of personal freedom…freedom to work hard and to enjoy the fruit of one’s labor…to use that fruit and selfless efforts to raise a family and to aid one’s neighbor in distress.
This was the American dream.
In our great foolishness, we have now discarded those foundations.
We have traded self-government for self-indulgence. We have traded transcendent Truth for self-centered identity and self-centered lust. The desires of the heart now trump any notion of divine righteousness.
We have tossed aside these critical Foundations…Foundations that for years sustained and propelled us into being the greatest nation in the world. Now we chase the mirage and illusion of self-gratification and false notions that right and wrong are determined by the individual…by man himself. And these false notions are now supported and propagated by all the centers of influence in our culture: Hollywood, media, academia and even the President, the Supreme Court and Congress.
And, as with every lie and deceit, its promises are false. Instead of selfishness bringing us happiness and pleasure, it reaps us strife and groaning. In the end, a self-centered culture is a hateful and violent culture…a culture seething with the seeds of its own destruction.
Our cities teeter on the brink of bursting into riots and flames. We can no longer stroll safely at night on our streets. Our families are no longer secure in their homes. Our children are no longer safe in their schools.
Our pursuit of selfishness and hedonism has brought the true state of our nation to one that is filled with violence.
We lead the world in crime. We commit approximately 10 million crimes every year…nearly 26,000 every day. No other nation comes close to us.
Every day we murder 40 people and rape 320.
As such, we also lead the world in incarcerations. Of all the prisoners in the world, we account for 25% of them. Our prisons are overflowing.
The backbone of our culture, our families, are in serious trouble.
For every 7 marriages this year, there will be nearly 4 divorces. And when we have babies, fewer are within the security and nourishment of a mother and father. Half of our first babies are born to unwed mothers; a third of our children live without a father; if you are a black baby conceived in this nation, the odds are greater that you will be aborted than that you will be born alive. Since 1973, we have killed 55 million of our babies, about a million a year, and we abort more of our offspring every single day than the terrorists murdered in the World Trade towers on 9/11.
The true state of our Union should cause us to weep.
We lead the world in producing pornography. 90% of the world’s pornography comes from our nation. We are sexually addicted and obsessed. Our movies and music and media are awash in what was once considered sinful and vile.
The state of our nation is truly shameful.
We have lost our sense of morality and it is costing us dearly. Try to imagine this next statistic: in one year, we will contract 20 million sexually transmitted infections. That’s 54,000 people infected every day…a fourth of them are teenagers. This is well beyond a level that we should label as an epidemic and plague—but we don’t speak of these things because it would dampen our lust for sexual freedom and reduce ticket sales at the theater.
We are the world’s leading user of illegal drugs. Approximately one in ten of us is addicted to alcohol or drugs. Every day, our drinking and driving snuffs out the lives of 28 human beings. We spend $50 billion federal dollars every year fighting illegal drugs while we spend $100 billion a year using them.
We are a nation of self-centered addicts.
Our drug and alcohol addictions lead the world, but they are nothing compared to the astounding percentage of our people who have sexual addictions…people who are addicted to pornography or addicted to gambling or video games or other pathologies that have a death grip upon us, destroying our lives, our families and our fruitfulness.
This, too, is a national epidemic.
We are sinking fast into mental numbness and dumbness as well. Out of the top 22 developed countries, our upcoming millennial generation ranks dead last in math, dead last in problem solving, and near dead last in literacy. This is a continual decline over decades. After four years of college, our Millennials score no better than high school seniors in Japan or Finland or the Netherlands. Researchers call our Millennial scores “abysmal”.
Instead, our teens consume nearly 9 hours a day of entertainment on smartphones or TV. By the time they are 18, our children will have witnessed approximately 400,000 murders on TV and by the age of 21, they will have spent 10,000 hours playing video games.
Even the future state of our nation does not look promising.
We adults aren’t much different. We average nearly 6 hours a day in front of the television…a big screen TV that is most likely on a credit card. Our personal consumer debt is over $2.5 trillion. The average family owes $16,000 in credit card debt. Our students owe $1.3 trillion in school loans.
But the biggest runaway spending is found in Washington.
The Federal debt is beyond imagination. Our debt has gone from $7.3 trillion in 2004 to over $18.8 trillion today with no sign of slowing down. This debt is now higher than our GDP—the total of ALL the goods and services produced in our country. We pay almost $230 billion a year in interest on that debt. The debt load on every taxpayer in America is now over $157,000.
But, in reality, the $18.8 trillion debt is a phony number. The real debt is found in our unfunded obligations, obligations to pay things in the future like Social Security and Medicare. This is the real debt of our nation. We currently have unfunded liabilities that total over $100 trillion dollars….a debt load of $1 million dollars for every taxpayer in our nation. It is more than the total of the ENTIRE world’s output. This debt is beyond understanding. It is a house of cards awaiting a puff of wind to blow it down.
Are we so blind that we cannot see any of this?
Despite the political posturing, we have fewer people in the workforce today than in 2000. We play with numbers to keep a respectable unemployment figure by moving millions of people into a growing pool of what we call “not in the labor force”…currently over 90 million, but the reality is that many of them are of working age who desire to be employed full-time but the jobs are not there. That may partially come from the fact that we also have the largest trade deficit in the entire world and that our high corporate tax rate is causing businesses and jobs to move to other countries.
All of this is transforming our nation into an ever-increasing welfare state. Over half of our people receive redistribution benefits from the Federal government. Few Americans are saving wisely and 76% of our people are living paycheck to paycheck, which means over three-fourths of our nation are loaded with debt and are one paycheck away from financial disaster.
How can we be so foolish?
We are increasingly becoming a nation of dependents and wards of the State. We are becoming slaves to a Federal Beast that grows without restraint.
The power and reach of the Federal government has become unrecognizable by our founding standards. The President and Supreme Court craft laws in defiance of the Constitution. The President thumbs his nose at the Constitution’s requirement to get Senate approval for foreign treaties. [I can guarantee that the President’s State of the Union that will be delivered Tuesday will be filled with political posturing, back patting, and that everything proposed will lead to a larger and more powerful Federal Beast. And in so doing, our people will descend deeper and deeper into dependent wards, and with it, our productivity will continue to shrivel and dry up.]
And in all of this, we simply turn a blind eye and go back to our TVs and smartphones…because we are addicted to our self-centeredness.
Our military has increasingly been stripped of any notion of Absolute truth…a military that was once feared by enemies, but cheered by the liberated French. Why? Because they carried a belief in an absolute moral foundation. No longer. Our military academies and military services have become a playground for social policies and political correctness and there is growing list of incidents that are creating a very “hostile” environment for the religious freedom of military members in order to crush the notion of Transcendent Truth....leaving only "State" truth.
Nothing should frighten us more than to think that we would desire to build a military or police force that believes truth lies within their own heart or within whatever orders are handed down from the State…that might is what makes right.
We have an enemy that has attacked our homeland and yet we are too squeamish to label the worldview behind it. We cannot bring ourselves to acknowledge the existence of evil nor the existence of sin because to do so is to acknowledge a Transcendent truth that exists beyond our self-centered fantasy. Instead, we look for environmental causes of evil behavior and point a finger at guns while we ignore the violence and sex and hedonism in our movies and music. Hollywood or the media is never held accountable, nor the educational system or public policies that continue to destroy our families and our culture.
And we are back to the heart of the issue.
For the true State of the Union lies here, in the selfish casting off of the Transcendent for the temporary; seeking our hedonistic pleasure for today while selling our souls and our future.
Do not be fooled. Selfishness eventually spawns hatred and violence. If you do not affirm me, I will spew such animosity toward you that you will be swept away with its fury. If you do not bake me an affirming cake, we will destroy your bakery. If you do not take affirming photographs, we will destroy your studio. If you do not allow a man who identifies as female to use the women’s restroom, the state of Washington will now shut down your business. If you do not affirm my self-selected gender identity with the proper pronoun, New York will now prosecute and fine you a quarter of a million dollars.
Our selfishness has reached the level of stark absurdity…backed by legal and political tyranny.
Somewhere in all of this, the founding generation must be shaking their heads in disbelief at what is happening to this nation. Our selfishness and rejection of absolute Truth is sucking us into a monstrous whirlpool that leads downward to utter darkness.
We are committing cultural and national suicide and yet we continue to affirm and gush over each other and party while the nation crumbles beneath our feet.
Does anyone care enough to fight this?
Does anyone care enough to stand?...to stand for what is right…for what is true…for what is good?
The Governors of the States must stand against the tyranny of the Federal Beast, but it must be the people who will stand and say no to the path that we tread. For the true State of the Union, which hangs by a thread, can be changed only if the people demand a change.
But the change must begin within.
If we continue to pursue our pleasure and entertainment, if we continue to abdicate our responsibility for the health of our families and this nation, if we continue to allow Hollywood and academia and the media and the Government to lead us down this path, then we, as a nation, are going to die. And the death may come in a night…it may come so swiftly that the world will stand in awe at our downfall.
But health will not come over night. We live in a fallen world where you catch diseases quickly, but you don’t catch health. You can fall and break a bone instantly, but healing it takes a lot of time. If we are to regain our health, if we are to restore what is broken, it will require the courage and strength and long-term commitment of the people…if we still have the character to do so. It will come by first falling to our knees in repentance before the God who made us…the God who gave us a land flowing with milk and honey…the God who has sustained us through war and countless trials…the God before whom we now stand and shake our fist in His face. It will come by an examination of our personal lives and the pathologies that infest our social systems. It will come by both individual and national commitments to that which is True. And it will come by a sustained walk of turning back to the God to whom we owe all things…to the God who can reduce us to rubble with one puff of His breath.
And if we do not, may God have mercy on us and our children.
Though the state of our Union is perilous, Remnant, there is a reason why we remain. It is for this time that we have been preserved. May we stand for Truth in the times in which we live.
Pray, dear Remnant, for repentance, Tuesdays, noon eastern.
On Election Day, at lunchtime, I was at a park in Colorado Springs. On one corner of the park sits one of our big high schools. It was a nice day (normal for the Springs) and the students filled the park, several making out lying on the grass. On the opposite corner stood a young man, conservatively dressed, holding an American flag and a Trump sign. He had a radio on the ground, not very loud, but playing a conservative talk show. I sat at a bench near the young man because I was curious about what I saw happening.
As the students walked by, they shouted obscenities at him and Trump. I am not willing to repeat any of it, suffice to say it was as filthy and vile as you can get. Some spit toward him. As it was getting close to the end of their lunch hour, a group gathered in front of him and pummeled him with profanity and obscene gestures. One girl was screaming at him. I suppose even worse was that after they would shout their obscenities, they would then howl in laughter pointing at him as if he were a joke. Of course, in the world of child-like behavior, this is considered the cruelest of all taunts… to make another seem like a worthless outcast… insignificant scum.
Although I couldn’t hear what the young man was saying, he remained calm and would sometimes turn and wave at cars that would supportively “beep-beep” as they drove by. As I write this, I’m not sure if I was right or wrong to not jump into the middle of it. I was committed to offer help if it looked like it was going to escalate beyond words, but for now it was free-speech being played out, though admittedly disgusting.
After the lunch crowd had returned to their classrooms, I approached the young man and our conversation went something like this:
“Students were pretty rough on you.”
“Yeah. A lot of nasty stuff.”
“I’m impressed you remained calm through all of it.”
“Well, I kept telling them that obscenities didn’t add to the conversation and just encouraged any of them to simply enter into a civil discussion with me.”
“I’m sorry they didn’t do that.”
“Me too. I really wish we could just talk about the issues like adults.”
I think it was the “adult” word that helped frame some of this for me. I had, indeed, witnessed deep immaturity, with its pure emotional spewing and little to no rational thought.
I don’t go to the park all the time, but I’m there enough to occasionally hear their conversations. I remember one of the first times, next to a group of high school girls, in which I was dumbfounded at the filth of their language. I spent over 20 years in the military, and I’d never heard anything that matched it.
Where does this come from?
My heart sank as I experienced what was happening Tuesday. It was quite scary, actually, because I was not only looking at such deep expressions of hate and loathing, but I was also looking at the generation that is going to replace us all. It didn’t look good.
We woke this morning to the continued news that there are protests all around the country. Some have become violent and destructive. Interestingly, the chants of the protestors are much like those I heard in the park… quite childish, selfish and filled with hatred.
Where is all of this coming from? In the park, my first thoughts were to put the blame on the high school that was right on the corner, thinking that this was coming from their classrooms. But then something dawned on me after reading the list of “tweets” that went out from Hollywood and TV and music “stars”. They were all saying the same things, in “star” lingo, of course, but just as childish.
This is Cher’s mature tweet on the election:
“Trump will never be more than a toilet…”
Andy Cohen (along with all the other late-night talk show hosts):
“Did we just elect a snake oil salesman and his wicked court of terror…?”
“The worst day in America: 9/11. The second worst day: 11/9.”
Really? Worse than the Civil War? Worse than the trail of tears? Worse that Kennedy’s assassination… or Pearl Harbor or the stock market crash in 1929?
This is the mindless mantra of our “entertainment” empire. And it is here we find the prime tutor of our children.
The average teen consumes 9 hours a day of entertainment on their smartphone or TV. You may want to reread that or say it over to yourself: 9 hours per day of smartphone/TV entertainment. This domain of music, rap, video, shows, comedy, movies and gaming is cultivating a mind that is filled with sex, violence, obscene language and destructive ideas. It numbs them towards a true reality. It strips them of common sense. It erects in their heart, mind and soul a virtual world of all-about-me and my pleasure.
And if things don’t go my way, I throw my tantrums. I call people names. I stomp my feet and chant emotional non-sense.
And I demand. Like the 3-year-old girl I saw the other day stomping her feet, screaming at her mother, demanding her own way.
For 9 hours a day, our youth live in a non-real world where lyrics and scripts and rap words rhythmically and cinematically draw them into believing that the virtual world of the entertainment empire is the world we all ought to live in… the world we WANT to live in. It seduces. It hypnotizes. It frames a worldview that is totally self-centered and hedonistic.
And it is totally irrational.
It spews out the most hateful and vile stuff. It beats up people, destroys property, flips off the world and then smugly chants “love trumps hate”.
It is the la-la land of infants demanding to get their own way in their self-defined, virtual world.
The problem is that the infants are increasingly in adult bodies with lots of power.
Our addiction to entertainment will continue to stunt our culture's maturity. We must wean ourselves and our kids.
Here is what troubles me most, however. Immaturity, when it doesn’t get its way, will often erupt into a “make you pay” rage. I sense that is what we are seeing. But I fear it is only the beginning. We are going to be treated to a host of "See what you made me do!" and "This is all your fault!" and "You'll be sorry!" acts and situations and new stories and personal stories, ad infinitim.
Brace yourselves, for the revenge of self-centered infants who live in adult bodies and carry great wealth and power can, and will be, be scary.