These are truly troubling times! This world is engulfed in turmoil and chaos resulting from a culture of violence that sweeps around the globe. The problem is widespread; it crosses national, ethnic, racial, social, educational, economic, and religious lines. The violence takes different forms and is based on different reasons, motivations, and ideologies from place to place, group to group, and person to person.
There are wars between nations, civil wars within nations, and serious tensions between other nations that could escalate into war. Terrorism, national and international, is entrenched as a reality in today's world. In many places it is simply a way of life.
The violence wreaked on individual lives by the effects of illegal drugs is itself obscene. But beyond that, countless beatings, stabbings, shootings, and other acts of violence are perpetrated by individuals under the influence of illegal drugs. And, the drug war rages in open violence on our streets. Gangs battle and kill for turf, power, and money, with innocents often finding themselves in the crossfire.
Even our children are becoming more violent, commonly turning to murder as a supposed honorable means of settling disputes with other children.
These are troubling times! Immorality has become the norm and morality the oddity in our society. Immoral lifestyles that recently would have embarrassed those living them are now lived openly and without seeming shame. Indeed, in many cases an in your face attitude seems to prevail.
It's almost as if a great many people no longer know the difference between morality and immorality. The latter, in various and numerous forms, has been so commonplace that it often simply goes unnoticed anymore. At the same time, people who take an open stand for morality, particularly if they dare to point out and name immorality, are looked upon as weird, narrow minded bigots. Values have been turned absolutely upside down!
These are truly troubling times! Marriages are falling apart, homes are crumbling at a catastrophic pace. The home is the basic unit of society. Adults are raised from childhood, and prepared to take their places in society, by the home. Broken homes tend to produce unprepared individuals. As fewer homes exist that effectively prepare their children to become productive adults, society suffers. If not addressed, the problem can take a self-sustaining, downward spiral. We'll eventually reach a point of critical mass, with more dysfunctional homes raising children to become dysfunctional adults than good homes raising effectively productive adults. Our society is already in serious danger!
There is an answer, there is something people can do! People's lives can change, society can change, the world can change as more people turn to God for direction, purpose, and peace in their lives. "In These Troubling Times..." is the theme for this year's beginning of the year outreach campaign. Almost unquestionably, each of us knows someone who needs God's direction in their life right now. Use this opportunity to reach out to them. Bring them to services. Enroll them in a Bible correspondence course. Study with them yourself, or ask someone else to study with them. This may be the time when you can help them turn their life around. And be sure to pray diligently and daily for this outreach effort. Your prayers are important!
Gary L. Hutchens