Lack of respect towards God, lack of respect towards Christ, is at the center of most of society’s problems today. This is lack of respect for Christs’ position, for His authority, which is primarily found in His word. Just as mentioned in my earlier blog about true godly love coming from above, coming from God through Christ, lack of respect towards God and His Christ leads to a loss of respect toward others and the institutions within the world around us.
All you have to do is observe the different news services and their support of these actions: the rioting that is going on, the looting and vandalism, the destruction of personal property, and persons in positions of leadership who forsake their responsibilities and allow these actions to persist unabated. People’s property, businesses, and livelihoods are being destroyed, and no stop seen – until it comes to these leaders’ neighborhoods! This amounts to a total disrespect for others and what they have sacrificed, worked for, and built. Lives have been threatened and many times lost because someone dared to disagree with another person’s thoughts or beliefs. As too often seen these days, when someone disagrees with you, they call you names and make false claims about your personal character. Grand juries not allowing charges to be placed against felons caught in the act because it doesn’t suit a political agenda. In my lifetime, I have never seen such hatred expressed….from one group toward another, from one political party toward another. Hatred spewed toward our President is unbelievable. I haven’t been totally impressed with every President during my lifetime. I haven’t always agreed with everything every President has done, even the ones I voted for; but the purely intentional, vicious, malevolent behaviors shown toward this current President is truly frightening.
All these activities mentioned above are attitudes which arise from a loss of respect for authority, loss of respect for personal responsibility, loss of respect for personal beliefs, and loss of respect for freedoms, especially freedom of thought and freedom of speech. There is lack of concern for freedom to work and build and pursue happiness, freedom to worship and believe one’s faith, freedom to travel in safety. As an example, a couple of weeks ago my wife and I had to attend my uncle’s funeral, which required us to travel through Atlanta in order to arrive in a timely manner. For the very first time in my entire life, I felt afraid to go to and through the city of Atlanta…. We mourn the loss of respect for the virtues upon which this nation was founded, while building new monuments for those whose actions towards their fellow citizens are criminal in nature.
Well, then, who do we blame? I blame the church, especially the institutional church, because we have ceased to be what Jesus said we were. Jesus said in Matthew 5:13,“You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Now, there are many in my denomination who will disregard this scripture because it only occurs twice in the Bible, and all truly enlightened Christians know that for a Scripture to be taken seriously, it has to appear more than twice in this Good Book. But it is exactly what has happened in the church. We are no longer salt. We have lost our flavor.
Salt is an enhancer. It flavors and improves the taste of food. While Jesus came to bring salvation to the world, He is honest enough to know that because of free will, not everyone will be saved. But He calls on those of us who do place our trust in Him to be salt in the earth; to be salt within our culture, community, and society; to be His flavor in the world. HIS FLAVOR! To be His influence. Yet, instead of the Church flavoring the world with the presence and the flavor of Christ, we have instead decided to flavor the Church using the seasoning of the world. To accomplish this, we have ceased to respect the authority of our Heavenly Father and His Son by questioning its validity. And the primary way we do this is by questioning the authority of the Word – Their Word. This makes us humanity conscious, not heavenly conscious. Without Word authority, our focus shifts from holiness and righteousness to the works and perceived goodness of humanity. Our focus changes from what is sin to what we want sin to be. Thus if a person or group of people believe the same as me, it is perfectly alright to steal, kill, loot, burn, destroy, assassinate another’s character, etc., because I am now the authority.
Salt is also a preserver. In Jesus’ day, there was no refrigeration, so folks used salt as a preservative. The question today becomes: As Christians, what are we preserving right now? Many Christians live in fear of attending their own local church. We march and give lip service to the politically correct. but how many small businesses , lives, and livelihoods have we preserved in Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, Portland and now Wisconsin? You see, Jesus was talking about the Church and individually about the Christian. We have lost our flavor, and this Scripture pronounces a judgment. The judgment is, “We are good for nothing but to be thrown out and TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT BY MEN.”
When I was growing up, the Church and Christianity flavored the society around them. Even during a championship football season, practice was over on Wednesday nights in time for the players to go to prayer meeting, if that was their families tradition. Nothing would be scheduled to compete with Sunday morning worship. Stores were closed on Wednesday afternoons and all day on Sundays. I was out of college before I ever saw a person mowing their lawn on a Sunday… Today, Sunday seems no different than any other day of the week. If your children play team ball of any kind, there are going to be weekend tournaments which of course include Sunday. I’d estimate 99.9% of businesses are open on Sunday. For many stores and restaurants, Sunday is their busiest day of the week. and the sad truth is that Christians are right in the middle of it. We neglect Sunday worship because we have had a busy week and we need Sunday to get caught up and ready for the next week. We decided to play golf on Saturday, so we catch the yard on Sunday. Besides, respecting the Sabbath and keeping it holy is antiquated and not for today….
In the same way that respect for the Father and the Son opens the door for love to rain down from above, so does lack of respect hinder this gift. When we the Church, when we the body of Christ, when we the Christians. cease to acknowledge the authority and position of the Father and His Son (and their commandments, their Word), we cease to be salt. We cease to be flavorful enhancers of life. We cease to be able to preserve anything, including our own faith and beliefs.
I remember watching the last UMC General Conference which was recorded on You Tube. I saw the division, the anger, the hatred, the name calling. I saw the alphabet soup of organizations in battle array against one another. And I now see what is going on in sections of our nation. And it makes me wonder – could it be that the world is still following our lead? Just asking.