That we live in a society where things are going from bad to worse should not surprise Christians, after all didn’t Paul warn of this? Look at what he says in 2 Timothy 3:13 “Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
If we look at all of chapter 3 we could outline it as follows:
- Expect difficult times in the end
- Expect to be persecuted
- Trust Scripture
- Be complete and equipped
Not exactly a harbinger of smiling times, eh?
So what does all this have to do with the public vitriol we see today? Simple!
Let me preface this by telling you that I hope I am wrong. I WANT to be wrong. I would LOVE for you to find this post in 3 years and say, “Mark, you are NOT a prophet! You completely got this wrong!”
THE NEW NORM
That being said, and meant, let me tell you my concern. I believe this public vitriol that we see on the news, in our politics, in our families, and yes, in our churches is becoming the new norm.
Now I’m not concerned about the unsaved “becoming worse” because I expect that. Paul said that above.
Look at my outline above. I’m not focused and therefore concerned about “difficult times” coming and “persecutions” coming. They are a fact of life. My concern for the church is that we are missing the next two points. I don’t see us “trusting Scripture” and therefore, I don’t see us “complete and equipped” which tells me that we will cave to the pressures and the vitriol of the day when real difficulties and persecutions come our way.
Let me back up in time a few years. There is a reason that the Vision Statement for Common Thread Ministries was written as it is, “Rebuilding the foundations of prayer” (from Psalm 11:3). The reason is that when (not “if”) things get worse in your hometown, if your prayer life isn’t solid you will cave. And THAT is my concern for my Christian brothers and sisters.
Friends, this public vitriol is becoming the new norm, which, I suspect, will be focused upon the Christians before long. And my question is simple, “Are you ready?”
Forgive me for stepping all the closer to your toes, but I must. If you think the cartoon above is the way to handle public vitriol, namely, giving-it-back just as hard as it comes to you, then you have forgotten Jesus’ example who, “when He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He was suffering, He did not threaten but entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:23
May I give you some hope? The hope comes in a “backdoor sort-of way” from Romans 8:6, which basically says that if I focus on the things of the flesh, I end up with death. But if I focus on the things of the spirit, I have life and peace (that’s a Mark Mirza Paraphrase). I believe that the best way to understand this verse is to look at it in reverse. This is what it is saying. Again, in Mark Mirza paraphrase:
If you do not have peace, I don’t care how “righteous” or “self-righteous” you are, you are NOT focusing on the things of the Spirit.
You might be asking where the hope is, and here’s the hope.
Let the verse be a simple wake-up call to you, that if you are NOT at peace, you simply need to go back to the Lord, go back to His comforting Word, for your focus has become the things the evil one wants you to focus on, namely, the things of the flesh, the angst, and the vitriol, which may soon be the new norm.
Let me take one possible argument away from you before the evil one convinces you to forget my plea to you, okay?
I am NOT SAYING, “do not be aware” of what is going where this vitriol is served up, I am merely saying, “Don’t FOCUS On It!”
DEALING WITH WORRY
Let me end with this. If you struggle with worry, go to my short 3 minute video where I address that subject for ALL of us: