This morning in a USA Today article, an elementary school teacher was quoted as saying, “It’s nobody’s right to say, ‘This is right or this is wrong’ or exclude a certain group of people.” Now, certainly depending on what you mean by “exclude,” the second clause in that sentence may be true. But the first clause is really the bedrock of the current cultural conversation, and it is the one that grabbed my attention as I read the story.
I would ask the young teacher, concerning that all-important first clause, what she would say about child molestation. Do we have the “right” to say that sexually molesting a toddler is wrong?
I’m not sure how the young woman would answer, but the fact that hers is so common a sentiment is really the problem. Oh, be different from the spirit of this age, Jesus-lovers! If you are a believer in Him and reading this, know that they desperately need us to be who we are in Christ. The weak and the unborn and the children who need mothers and fathers and the materialistic and the addicted will not be helped by the gods of this culture, because the gods of this culture are too self-absorbed and timid to love or speak or even know truth.
The unbelieving around us are going to need us to tell them about God, His ways, and, yes, even their own selves. And though our culture claims its ultimate value is a sort of giant love, the reality is that they will need the people of Christ to show them what love even is.
You see, any society which does not have the moral backbone to call what’s wicked wicked will soon be unable to be truly merciful. You can’t be compassionate without conviction, and you can’t be truly compassionate without true conviction. Any nation who refuses to name evil will be no help to those whom evil slays. You can’t help those being crushed and killed by sin if you refuse to know what sin is.
To be too afraid or too deluded to speak to what is treacherous, God-defying, self-destructive, or violating is to be of little good to the world or to God.
They need us to call good good and to call sin sin, because they won’t and lives are at stake. And while to judge without mercy is to be a Pharisee, to refuse to judge at all is to be the last verse of the book of Judges.
If you won’t tell Matthew to leave the tax collector booth, you can’t help him. If you won’t tell the woman at the well to go get her husband, you can’t rescue her.
If you won’t hunger and thirst for righteousness, you won’t be blessed with the merciful.
They need us to know, speak, and love. They need us to minister the God of truth, the God of Jesus Christ, to the societal wounds they’re allowing and inflicting. They need us to be who we are courageously and compassionately.
Their confusion is probably going to lead them into a dark place where our city on its hill will be their only light.