|The Harvey Weinstein debacle, followed by a series of high-profile cases of flagrant disregard for personal prudence, such as Al Franken and Matt Lauer, raises the question of whether our society has lost its sense of shame. Is there an increase in such boorish behavior or has the tip of the iceberg of moral decay finally emerged above the din of a coarse culture? The problem of this moral dilemma won’t be solved by firing a few movie producers and actors or forcing the most egregious politicians to resign. The answer is this: as a nation and as a church, we must recover a sense of shame. How did we get to this place? Down several pathways. The lack of person and societal shame is an evil produced by decades of throwing off self-restraint and quieting our collective conscience from the idea that there is evil and there are absolutes. At the same time, market-driven Christianity has lost a sense of the sacred, faithfulness, dependability, modesty, and restraint. What’s left is a lack of organized, national conscience, no sense of what it means to blush at something without being mocked as prudish. Self-restraint has been replaced by self-indulgence. Religious confessionals by therapeutic psycho-babble. The sense of sin by the tyranny of the perverse. To recover the sense of shame, we must learn again to blush, to be embarrassed at wardrobe malfunctions and scandalous behavior. The prophet Jeremiah said it well (Jer. 8:12): “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed, Nor did they know how to blush.” Recovering shame means that once again we must make our churches places of repentance instead of temples of self-satisfying worship with inoffensive preaching. And most important, we will not know the shame of our sins until we accept the shame of the cross. (Hebrews 12:2 – “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”) Jeremiah 8:6-7: I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. No one repents of his wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues his own course like a horse charging into battle. Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD. NIV|
An encouraging word: OPTIMISM OR PESSIMISM
It seems in life that we often have only one of two choices about what happens. Assume the role of an optimist and believe things will get better no matter what, or believe the worst is about to happen because Murphy’s Law all too often seems to prevail. (“If it can go wrong, it will go wrong.”) But there is a third choice, Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Christians shouldn’t be either full-fledged optimists or depressing pessimists. We are simply believers who trust the Lord to bring the best in all things as we patiently wait for His purposes to be fulfilled.
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