It’s often said that life is a fight for territory, and that once we stop fighting for what we want, what we don’t want will automatically take over. We need only to turn on the television, or pick-up a newspaper, or read comments on social media to realize exactly what we, as a country, have stopped fighting for – and what has automatically taken over.
Too many have stopped fighting for moral values by their silence, while others openly mock traditions and customs, such as building a stable family unit that is committed to the precepts of the Bible, or protecting and defending life, especially the most vulnerable.
Many more of us say today, “to each his own”, or “that’s none of my business,” or “it’s not my place to judge”. And as a result, more and more of us are teaching our children that morality is a matter of opinion, convenience, or consensus. Our children then grow up in a culture where right or wrong is not so much an absolute, as much as it is a decision about what makes us feel good, or is convenient for us – even if it is destructive to ourselves and to others.
Our seeming indifference to immorality is akin to watering the weeds in a garden, instead of removing them altogether – the weeds only get taller and stronger, while the fruitful plants become smaller and weaker.
And the “weeds” seem to be flourishing. Last month, a gunman opened fire in a Lafayette theater, murdering 2 people, and maiming countless others in the process. Barely 2 weeks before that, a 25-year old man killed four U.S. marines at a military recruiting center in Chattanooga. In June, a 21-year old man killed nine churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina during a prayer meeting.
And these are just the well-reported, senseless mass-shootings by those who have no regard for the sanctity of human life. But these mass-shootings are taking over our culture, it seems. In fact, it is reported that there have been 206 mass shootings so far in 2015 – nearly 1 mass shooting everyday this year where four or more persons were shot.
Not surprisingly, our murder rates are climbing, as well. In Milwaukee, twice as many people were killed in the first half of 2015 as in the same period last year. In St. Louis, murders are up by 60%; in New Orleans, by 30%; in Washington, DC, by 18%; in New York by 11%.
More and more of us feel unsafe in our own homes, or going to the grocery store, or taking our children to the theater or a sporting event – or even sending them into our schools.
To make us feel safe, there are calls to install more metal detectors in public places, and more cameras in our shopping malls, and more security guards during worship services on Sunday mornings.
Maybe you are one who says that gun control is the solution to the carnage in our country because if bad people didn’t have guns, they couldn’t murder people as easily. Even if that were accurate, making new laws won’t effectively do anything to reduce the number of guns currently in our country, and FBI crime statistics show more people are murdered by clubs and hammers, than rifles and shotguns, anyways.
And then there are those that say we should simply pray to God to save us. That’s always a good idea. But worshipping in our churches on Sundays is not enough, if we are unwilling to change our ways, or abandon the “to each his own”, or “that’s none of my business,” or “it’s not my place to judge” mentality that is so entrenched in our culture now.
Our prayerful words seem meaningless if we allow our culture to silence the expression of our moral values, and if we all choose, instead, to live our lives on our terms – and not on God’s.
You see, protecting one another from evil is an “inside” job. It starts inside our homes, where children are being raised by adults – instead of YouTube. This is because it is the family that passes down wisdom on how to live one’s life best.
And through the family, from generation to generation, by word of mouth and religious teachings, we all learn what works, and what doesn’t, harvested from trial-and-error, and not from what’s merely easier to do or popular in our culture.
Calling for more police officers, or new laws, or adding metal detectors is important, but it ignores the reality that we can never protect one another from the growing number of people whose understanding of right or wrong is not so much an absolute as much as it is a decision about what makes them feel good.
You see, we’ll eventually run out of police officers and metal detectors in our country – there simply are not enough of them to go around, in all the places they will be needed in the future, based on the present trends. The question really is, will our country eventually run out of righteous people like you first, in all of the places you will be needed, instead?