The End of the World as We Know It
We are a worldly people and we know it. Trouble is, we don’t know it well enough. As the broader western culture sinks more deeply into the moral abyss, as even our anemic and apologetic Christianity is vilified and judged it becomes all too easy to awaken to the dangers of worldliness. And of course our worldliness is easy enough to find.
Consider the evangelicals at your local abortion mill. One study suggests that evangelicals represent one of every six procurers of surgical abortion. Why? Sometimes it’s an unmarried young lady who wants to put her shame behind her, or whose father wants to put it behind him. Sometimes it is a young married who fears the baby will cramp the lifestyle she would like to lead. Other times it’s a mom whose doctor has told her about a fetal abnormality. The baby may be suspected of having Downs, trisomy-13, or something rarer still.
Now if I posed those three circumstances at most evangelical churches I can count on disapproval in the first two instances. Murdering your baby due to shame or to avoid giving up your second car, data plan, cable movie package, vacation is wicked. But the third instance, that too many of us find at least understandable. That said, we like to believe that if WE ever found ourselves in such a situation, we would bravely do the right thing and not murder the burden. We would stiff-upper lip our way to obedience because we know it’s wrong to murder babies, even ones we don’t want.
Which is just as compelling proof that we are worldly. The world murders its babies because they believe the baby will get in their way of having a good life. Good life is defined by financial freedom, peaceful relationships and health for ourselves and those whom we love. Too many in the church murder their babies for the same reason. And those who don’t, those who spare their baby’s life well, they just decide they won’t have a good life, if it requires killing their baby.
It’s a good thing to have a strong conviction against killing babies. But it is also a good thing to understand how the Bible, as opposed to the world, presents the good life. It’s not wealth and health, but joyful service, not receiving the respect of our neighbors, but giving love to our “neighbors,” those in need whom the Lord has set before us. The good life is less the triumph of our merit scholar, beauty pageant, volleyball state champ daughter, more gratefully wrestling your daughter’s wheelchair through the sand at the beach so she can smell the salt water and watch the seagulls. The world lies, but Jesus is the truth, and He says not just that we must lose our lives, but that in losing them we will find them.
The Christian faith is not pursuing the world’s ends the Lord’s ways. It is instead pursuing the Lord. And we find Him amongst the widows and orphans. Indeed when our Lord wanted to show us the goal, what the complete man of God looks like, when He wanted us to see what we are to strive for, what maturity, integrity and success look like, He put a child on His knee.