Have you ever watched an Intervention reality show? You know the ones: a family member or close friend confronts, usually with the help of a professional, someone with a major addiction problem. There’s tears, anger, and usually resolution (it is, after all, “reality” TV).
When you watch, do you find yourself thinking that the one doing the intervention dislikes the other person? Or do they love them? They love them, right? Their love drives their deep desire to intervene in order to save their loved one. In fact, if they didn’t love that person, they would not go to the extremes of intervening because they wouldn’t care.
“Reality TV” always showcases best case scenarios, though. In real, real life, there are times when interventions and therapy don’t work. When a person that is deeply loved and cared for simply will not make the choice to change their lifestyle, be rid of their addiction, and be who they were created to be. Then, their loved ones need to make a choice: continue enabling them and getting run over, or – let them go. They reach the point where they must simply let them run with their choices, their lifestyle, their issues, until they hit a final wall and have sense knocked back into them the hard way. There comes a time when even intervening becomes useless and the loved ones have to release them to their desires.
Worst case scenario. It would be devastating, right? Yet, you wouldn’t say that the loved one doesn’t care for the addict. No – you would argue that because of their great love, they had to let them go to learn on their own when they have exhausted all their efforts, done all they could do, and can’t do any more.
We learned this from God. He talks about this exact same thing in Romans 1. Paul is talking about how sinful the world had become. People had turned their backs on God and were worshiping created things rather than the Creator. They abandoned the natural and chased after the unnatural. They didn’t want God, didn’t seek God, didn’t love God. So, God: “gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts…, gave them over to shameful lusts…, and gave them over to a depraved mind.” He let them go.
The United States was originally founded on Christian principles – there is absolutely no denying that, no way around it, no way to distort history about it. Was it perfect? No. But, it was Bible-based. Over time, however, society has progressively turned away from those Christian principles. Now, in 2016, we’re unrecognizable as a Christian society. Slow, yet deliberate changes in the culture until we are a different people.
I grew up in Vermont and was a teen when the civil union law was put into place. I remember our church, which was the biggest building in the surrounding community, being used for a political rally to oppose the law. It was not a religious event; it was purely political. In fact, most churches refused to get involved. They were against law, absolutely, but they were afraid to be vocal about it. The rally was mostly attended by community folks who were also opposed. The Christian community was unsure if they should “get involved” in politics.
We know how that “opposition” ended. Civil unions in Vermont were merely the beginning. Today, gay marriage is legal nationwide.
A few years ago, a law was put into place that enabled people to change their gender on their birth certificate. There was, to my knowledge, no real outcry from the Christian community. However, this past Sunday, we had a petition in our church in order to oppose the bathroom law allowing people to use whatever bathroom they want based on how they “identify” themselves. All of a sudden, people being able to change their gender affects us and we are now vocal about it. But… is it too late?
Christians nationwide are asking the question, “How did we get here?” They are crying out that God is going to judge us.
You know, I think we’re past that point. I firmly believe we are living what Romans 1 described: God has let us go.
Paul talks about trading truth for a lie. Thinking they’re wise, but are really fools. Men with men and women with women committing shameful acts. Look at this list: “gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.” I’m not sure you can look at that list and not identify the U.S. with it.
We have a serious problem. See, we are slowly dehumanizing ourselves and doing what Paul says – worshiping (putting above God) the creature rather than the Creator. We are taking away gender. We are taking away the value of life by allowing abortions, euthanasia, and assisted suicide. We care for animals – endangered, abandoned animals – more than unborn children. This is a slippery slope and we are plummeting fast.
Two years in a row, endangered animals have made the headlines. Cecil the Lion in 2015 and now Harambe the Gorilla just this week. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals. In fact, if you look at my papers when I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a monkey trainer. Don’t ask why a little girl from Vermont dreamed of training monkeys; I never said I was a logical child. The truth remains – I love animals and mean them no ill will.
However, both of these animals have taken over the headlines, dominating above humans. Last year, Cecil was the major headline, taking predominance over the abhorring Planned Parenthood videos. While that poor dentist is basically unable to live life as he once knew it, Planned Parenthood continues their atrocities, essentially fully-funded.
This year, the Gorilla has taken over the headlines, filling our Facebook feeds with links to petitions and news stories about people protesting his death. The real issue, however, was not that the Gorilla was shot, even though this is definitely sad. There are so many other underlying issues that are so much more important – and we’re ignoring all of them and focusing on the death of a primate.
I have a small boy. Two of them, actually. They are curious, devious, and fast. I don’t doubt that it takes milliseconds for a child to escape his parents’ confines on their little hands. I do, however, take issue with:
- the fact that it did not take him mere seconds to climb the fence, run across the separating space, and fall into the moat. This was a couple minutes of nobody interceding. And I mean nobody. None of the many bystanders (because they claim it was “very crowded” which is why she lost him) and none of his parents or guardians, whomever was there watching him.
- the fact that he climbed the gate to begin with. Wasn’t he told not to? Did his mom let him play on gates previously making him think that it was okay to begin with? In which case, his mom was disobeying the zoo rules, too. See, even adults have developed this horrible case of disobedience – thinking rules are merely “suggestions” and they’ll comply when it “makes sense” to them. No! Rules are there for our protection… and apparently to keep gorillas from being shot when we disobey.
- the fact that we are more concerned with what the zoo officials did than simply making sure that this child is okay. I can’t even watch the video of the gorilla slamming him through the water without my stomach churning in horror. The boy was not being protected; he was being used to show the gorilla’s power and scare off the screaming humans above him. It is a miracle the boy survived as long as he did and will live to tell his story. I’m sincerely glad the boy is all right, but I don’t think he should’ve ever been near the edge of that enclosure to begin with.
Our value on human life is slowly going downhill. It’s beginning now with prioritizing lions, gorillas, and abandoned dogs (Sarah McLachlan, anyone?) over babies, the elderly, and those with terminal illnesses. Our own President – a father of two beautiful girls – can’t even call an unborn child a “child” but chooses instead to call it “a fetus.” It’s much easier to dispose of a “fetus” than “a beautiful baby girl.” We have a woman running for President of our country — a woman who has a child of her own and a beautiful grandbaby– who advocates abortion at any time during a pregnancy. At any time they can rip a baby – with a beating heart, who can hear and see, who feels pain – limb from limb and throw them in the trash can. At. Any. Time.
Oh, but shooting a gorilla that was going to crush a little boy’s skull is way out of line.
Remember, Jesus didn’t die for gorillas, lions, and dogs who have no soul. He died for the babies that aren’t even being given the chance to take their first breath.
What we are seeing today is the beginning of another downward spiral. Just like when the Christian community didn’t stand up to the civil unions in one State (one of the smallest, mind you) because it didn’t affect every State yet – and now we have people unsure of what bathroom to use – we will eventually have dogs with more rights and better healthcare than our children. It begins here and will continue to spiral unless…
…Unless we finally stand up and take a stand.
I don’t mean a boycott because oh good grief, that never works anyway (I’m pretty sure all that Disney boycotting when we were kids was absolutely pointless). I mean we do what we were supposed to do all along: Not be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes. If Paul could stand up and defend his faith in the times of Nero, then we can do the same today.
We need to make it clear that we believe in the grace of Jesus Christ – and what that can mean to our society, if they would do the same. We can help people find the identity that they feel they have lost. We can help people find purpose so assisted suicide in their last days is not needed. We can give the elderly hope of a beautiful eternal life. We can share love, hope, and purpose with the pregnant teen down the street and offer her real options instead of the easy out she thinks is her only choice.
We don’t need to stand on Capital Hill with signs, marching, protesting, and making obscene “Christian” comments on Facebook to strangers. We do, however, need to raise our children with God being first priority so they can be the change for their generation. Jesus said people would know we are His followers by our love, not by our petitions. Love that transgender neighbor and draw Him to the saving grace of the cross by making them wonder what makes you different.
I do believe we are past waiting for judgment from God and are living in judgement, reaping the consequences of years of sin and turning our backs on God. But, even in judgment, God offers grace. Because grace is more than just an attribute; it’s Who He is. And if we are being conformed to His image, then that’s who we are, too.
We need to start now, though. God has let our society go into its depraved, senseless, foolish way of life. That simply means our lights on the hilltops need to shine that much brighter.