Do you ever become discouraged by current events in your community, country and world? Do you wonder why things are the way they are? Why people treat each other, treat you horribly? I was reading St. Paul this morning and his discussion about what happens when people reject God and his plan for this world and for their lives.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are 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. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
That describes an awful lot of what goes on around us on a daily basis, doesn’t it? I was particularly struck by “they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.” People can be so cruel, so cut throat.
As Christ followers are called to live out a different lifestyle. As St. Paul also wrote:
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. . . . Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
So we shouldn’t be surprised by why things are the way they are, why our culture is the way it is. But we don’t have to become like the culture. We are called and empowered by the Spirit to live differently. Will we follow that calling? That is a choice we must make every day.