The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death~ Proverbs 14:27
News commentators call it the “coarsening of society;” some call it the “cheapening of life.” The label one chooses is irrelevant. The real issue is that “it” is going on all around us.
Arbitrary acts of violence, the euthanizing of the old and sick, sexually active twelve-year-olds, no-fault divorce, pornography, child abuse, human trafficking, and legalized drugs all point to a culture that has lost its moral footing in every measurable sense. I concluded a few years back that I have pretty much seen it all, and there is nothing left in this world that could possibly shock me.
Then the Planned Parenthood tapes were released.
The first two videos were objectively speaking, appalling. The videos feature Planned Parenthood doctors casually laughing, joking and sipping wine with someone posing as a fetal tissue buyer. The cheery banter is punctuated with some rather disturbing exchanges concerning abortion techniques and some callous haggling over what ought to be the going rate for aborted body parts.
The third installment makes the first two videos look like suitable preschool programming. The third video shows a doctor, a technician, and a “fetal tissue buyer” standing over the aborted remains of a child referred to only as “ the 11.6” (eleven weeks and six days into pregnancy). The tech points out all the fetus’ intact parts including a liver, heart and hands to the “fetal tissue buyer”. The video ends when the doctor and tech agree that the clinic should be compensated for each intact body part rather than simply receiving a single payment for each aborted fetus.
As troubling as they are, the ghoulish practices of Planned Parenthood are simply symptoms of a deeper and much more vexing issue. Human trafficking, child abuse, drug use, pornography, euthanasia, random acts of violence, along with abortion and the profiteering around the abortion industry all stem from one common and widespread cause. Something the Bible refers to as the hardening of the human heart and the searing of the conscience (Ephesians 4:18, 1st Timothy 4:2).
The human heart is a spiritually delicate and fragile thing. Most folks are born with a natural bent toward revering the Creator and with a measure of empathy towards others. That is not to say that people are born morally perfect, they are not. However, most young children hurt when other people hurt, love God (unless taught otherwise) and desperately want to make God happy. This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote that the law of God and the truth of God’s existence are written on the human heart (Romans 2:14-16).
Hearts become hardened and consciences become seared as we resist and disobey God. The more we violate what we instinctively know to be true, the easier it becomes to descend further into immoral behavior. If the progression continues our priorities become hopelessly confused and eventually evil will seem good and good will appear to be evil (Isaiah 5:20).
This is where we are at as a culture.
Folks get more wound-up over a dentist from Minnesota killing a lion in Zimbabwe than they do over the deaths of millions of preborn humans. No one is concerned that adolescents are having their sexual attitudes shaped by the vilest forms of pornography imaginable. But everyone gets their knickers in a knot if there is even the slightest hint of sexism coming from some silly article in a women’s magazine.
Christians cannot stop the slide into moral oblivion in the lives of others. We are not called to police the behavior of non-believers. We are commanded to consider how our actions and attitudes affect all people.
Christians who view pornography financially support and validate an industry that exploits women and sometimes even children, enslaves millions, and creates a market for prostitution. When Christians divorce because they “just aren’t happy anymore,” we cheapen a sacred ceremony and make it considerably easier for others to do the same. When we mimic the sexual standards of the unsaved we give license to others and increase the odds of compounding our sin of immorality with the sin of abortion. When we snicker at sinful behavior we minimize and mock the sacrifice Christ made for that sin.
Being a Christian is about more than having our sins forgiven and getting to spend eternity in heaven. Being a Christian is about more than being nice and loving people. Being a Christian is about doing all of life God’s way, all the time. God’s way is rarely easy.
God calls us to a life of holiness, selflessness, genuine goodness, and social distinctiveness. When all of us who call ourselves Christians choose the narrow path we are called to, then, and only then, will we become the preserving and sanctifying influence our world so obviously needs right now.