Given the way society is described, the message we receive is that the world is getting better and better. We would recall from our history books describing a period of time known as the dark ages. Centuries later, it became described as the age of enlightenment. Whether the dark ages or the age of enlightenment, we surpassed that, enjoying what is known as the information age.
Today, we are talking about the digital age. Indeed, society appears to be getting better and better. The Bible seems to point to a different analysis. In the famous passage in Mt. 5, we read of the serious assumption that far from progressing, society is spiraling downwards. This assumption can be seen in our Lord’s call for Christians to be the light to the world (with the assumption that the world is in darkness) and to be the salt of the earth (with the assumption that the world is in decay).
Darkness in the world:
Far from being enlightened, we read from Scripture, and we know by experience, that the world is in deep spiritual darkness. In fact, it seems as if that the more a person feels that he is enlightened, the more his mind is darkened, thinking that he does not need God. It is because of such thinking that we read the assertion that religion is the opium of the people, popularized by Karl Marx, the legendary communist. Attacking religion, the assertion is that it is but a clutch, like drug addicts being addicted to opium. It is only for the needy, the poor, the commoners and the uneducated. To this kind of mindset, Paul’s take in 2 Cor. 4:4, is that the God this world, Satan, has blinded the minds of those who believe not.
Decay on earth:
Alongside the march towards being progressive, other issues (championed as moving with the times), have actually seen a regression. A case in point is that of the LGBTQ debate. Such issues when raised in days gone by, were done under hush hush conditions. Those were the days when talks on such issues were done under whispers. Today, we have people openly identifying themselves as such, fighting tooth and nail over it, in an effort to have it accepted as norm.
However one tries to defend it, it is a clear-cut ‘no go’ as far as Scripture is concerned. E.g. – 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.’ Rom. 1:26,27.
Much as people do not light up a lamp only to put it inside a basket, but will instead put in on a stand to light up the whole house (Matt.5:15), so too, it calls for Christians to shine by word and deed what we stand for. And just as salt is used for enhancing flavour and for the preservation of meat (especially in days gone by where refrigeration is unheard of), stemming its decaying process, may we do our part to stem what is in danger of further eroding.
God forbid that we stand from a viewpoint of a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude. Without compromising our position, we can choose to embrace one and all, of whatever sexual orientation, extending love and compassion, and being sensitive to those who think differently from us, loving them into the kingdom of God.
Elder Richard Lai