” Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 6:15
One must wonder how the people of Israel came to this point and we could speculate forever about it with little progress. What we can conjecture is that it did not happen overnight. Additionally, it is certain that this can be applied to our culture, as both an American and a “Christian” culture, though the way it has come about today differs from the Old Testament time period. It comes, not in blatant blows that will strike our conscience, but in subtle workings that gradually numb the conscience.
I will put forth areas where we are assaulted on this front, the effects that this numbing has, and some solutions to the problem, particularly how to avoid the quandary of a dull conscience to the exceeding sinfulness of sin.
These gradual assaults upon us as Christians come on six fronts that I can think of:
- Movies and TV shows
- The Media
- The expectations of our unbelieving neighbors
- The lack of sanctions against evil in our law-system
Let’s start applying what is meant in general. Suppose you know someone who is an adulterer. Adultery is, according to biblical law both a capital punishment and a gross iniquity that undermines the societal order, disgraces individuals and destroys families. Now, the usual response to this is that capital punishment for adultery is too severe, antiquated and bigoted. Now, this might be expected from unbelievers (although there were times in history when they didn’t), but the fact is that this is the predominate reaction from those in the Christian community who should know better. This happens because there is no sense of loathing of sin coupled with an apathy to God’s commands and holy character. But this didn’t come about over night. It happened because Christians are getting a steady diet of humanistic pottage, though not so much at a time that they will choke on it and recognize it for what it is. It is gradual, subtle and satanic.
I could elaborate on each of the six areas of assault that we are bombarded with, but perhaps a general look at the effects of these things will be sufficient. The books you read, the movies you watch, the music you listen to, the things the media chooses to report upon, the pressure of the expectations of our neighbors in our behavior and the law-system we operate in are all advocating a certain worldview and it is humanistic. Do not kid yourself that they are passive in this endeavor either; they are rabid in making sure every fabric of your life is influenced with their ideology. So what are they in general and how do we avoid them?
First, it can come implicitly through all of the above by making feelings as “love” ultimate. You will hear this especially in music and in movies. Nothing matters but that we perpetuate love with no connection to laws or morality. Think of your favorite pop songs. What do they advocate? Think of your favorite movie: what was glorified in it?
Second, it can come explicitly by openly advocating godless ideas. This is seen, as in movies where the “good guy” is an adulterating, murdering, thieving individual. Or, as in the case of music, where sexual promiscuity is glorified or seen in a casual light. It can also be seen in what the media chooses on to report upon. If orthodox Christianity is consistently represented as loony, and sexual perversions such as sodomy as “normal”, you have it there as well.
Third, it can come by personal sins. Pornography would be a good example. If a man or woman indulges in heart adultery, they will hardly view the physical act as something outrageous. This is also the reason why there is so much protest against the biblical sanctions against adultery; we are a nation full of people who are adulterers at heart.
Now, many more examples could be produced, but it would be superfluous. The simple fact is that wickedness is daily presented to you as fine, normal, and wonderful and you absorb it whether you realize it or not. I am not speaking as one who is above this, but someone who has experienced this. How do you know if you’ve been infected? Ask yourself if you can blush any more about the things that the Bible says is a shame to speak about. If not, it’s because you’ve be inoculated with humanism. The constant representation of sin as “the thing to do” has seared your sensitivity to the horror of it. Can you say with David, “Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law”? Are you grieved by it so that “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law”?
So, that is the problem. What are some solutions that will help us keep a sensitive heart towards God and to see sin as it really is, which is exceeding sinful?
- Memorization of Scripture so that we are meditating on the law of God, hiding it in our heart that we might not sin against God. (Ps 119:11)
- Daily reading of Scripture for man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. (Mt. 4:4)
- Provoking one another unto good works, specifically with sobriety in godliness and praying for one another. (Heb. 10:24)
- Being conscious of the wickedness in your culture and either battling it or avoiding it. (1Pet.5:8-9)There is a fine line here. While we should avoid the blatantly sinful things in things we watch and listen to and read, it will always be there in some form, whether blatant or disguised. You can’t avoid it so long as we live in a godless culture. The step to take against it, therefore, is to identify the specific godless worldview presented and to refute it. This can actually be quite an exercise with some movies. But if you walk away from some hedonistic film and think, “Wow! That was a GREAT movie!” you can be sure you’ve been infected with humanism. The remedy is a steady dose of the opposite: God-centered books starting with the Bible, the revelation of the mind of God. If we are careful to study God’s Word and to obey it, then we can expect to start hating the things that God hates, and loving the things that God love. Only then will we learn again to blush.
Ephesians 5:11-12: And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
– Jesse Murch