News in our media today is strewn with bad news. Bad news is the untold death of children and adults in their numbers, the injustice against the poor by the rich in our society, the increasing disintegration of the family unit, and growing lack of our adherence to the law. Either the media goes with the notion that, “Bad news sells.” or maybe we are the ardent consumers of the bad news constantly seeking for it without fill.
Matthew 24:12 (NIV)
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.*
*In this verse, other versions use the word lawlessness interchangeably with wickedness.
Truths to Ponder on: A definition of wickedness in the King James Version Bible is: “Departure from the rules of the divine law; evil disposition or practices; immorality; crime; sin; sinfulness; corrupt manners. It also expresses the corrupt dispositions of the heart.
Wickedness is a state of the heart, which begins with an evil or corrupt thought, actions follow and a character is developed and finally there is a destiny. It is a progression not simply something that happens in a day.
Recently in Kenya, we had an attack on Garissa University; the manner in which the students were killed was wicked. I confess in the days following the killings since I was so ‘used’ to bad news – it was the norm – my first reaction was an indifference to it. I was initially shocked at the increasing number but my emotions it would seem had taken a vacation. I spoke with my mouth about my distress, anger and displeasure but my heart was away on leave. I began to get accustomed to the gravity of the situation as though it had happened before and I had no part to play in its aggravation.
But deep inside I yearned to cry my eyes out. To cry because of the innocent children of God whose lives were cut short, to cry at what our country has been brought to, to cry because of my apathy and to cry to God for help. Tears were not forthcoming.
It was until I read Matthew 24:12, that a well of tears was released. Jesus was telling His disciples and by extension me and you, the signs of the end of the age to usher His coming. Because of the increase of wickedness in the world, the love of most will grow cold.
I was convicted of my lessening love for God’s people and also for the people who have not known God’s love for themselves and die in that state; of my worry about our increasing insecurity and hence lack of trust in God’s protection; of my anger towards the perpetrators of violence and yet that is all they know instead of my love towards those who need it the most.
The world is becoming so wicked and God already pronounced judgment through Isaiah, in the fifth chapter, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” The world has entertained the idea of there not being a God and as Bishop James Madison (1749-1812) rightly predicted if this were to happen, “…The moment that religion, the pure and undefiled religion loses its influence over their hearts, from that fatal moment, farewell to public and private happiness, farewell, a long farewell to virtue, to patriotism, to liberty!”
The prophet Jeremiah in chapter 13 asks, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”
You see, wickedness is a learned habit. One that can’t be changed just from desire alone. Jesus warned us about the increase of wickedness; it did not come as a surprise so that we should always ask, “What happened to the world these days?”
In Luke 21:19, Jesus said something that will encourage us, “By standing firm you will gain life.” This word is lamp to our feet in a time such as what we find ourselves in. Let us not be found among those whose love grew cold. Let us be found among those who live unwavering though the circumstances around us would warrant otherwise. Let us not demand the world to love that which is not its own. Jesus said we shall be hated because He was hated. Let us resolve to hold on to God’s laws.
He said: love your neighbour as yourself. Did that mean the neighbour had to be good to me, or having the same values as I had? The neighbour as the Samaritan in Jesus’ parable was someone who society sees unfit of love either by their beliefs, preferences, race, colour, history, or religion.
Tough Questions: Are you accustomed to doing good? How have you responded to the increasing wickedness in the world today? Are you indifferent to it? Has your love grown cold?
Lesson: We need to look into our own lives and weep for our neighbours. Our love for them needs to be anchored on God’s love for the world. While we continue to call evil evil and good good, let’s stand firm for God’s supreme law.