Does it not seem our culture has recently shown a more rapid breakdown of civility? Bad manners, rudeness and harsh talk abound with little remorse. It seems like almost everything is politicized and calculated for effect. In a recent survey, over 50% of Facebook users admitted to having ‘unfriended’ someone because of comments posted during the last election cycle.
At the root, I believe this is a by-product of the breakdown in our cultural consensus. We cannot agree on reality. This leads to frustration and anger when we try to communicate and are misunderstood. Fortunately, God is never surprised, and never dismayed. Scripture foresaw this current climate, and spoke to it. In Matthew 24:12 we read, ‘And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.’
Jesus foretold that in the days after his resurrection, there would be an increase in lawlessness. That growth of anarchy would make many despair and become hardened to all the awful speech and conduct around them. Another word for ‘law’ is ‘standard’. There is a pushing back against all manner of Biblical standards previously accepted in our culture. We no longer have the tools to agree on what the goals of our society should be, and as things which the Bible calls sin are praised, many are finding their hearts growing cold.
This sad development is not without hope. When the surroundings become dark, light becomes much easier to see. it is natural to grow callous and cold when surrounded by ugliness. For that very reason, love that is unfazed when so much anger and rage is leveled against it is proved to be supernatural. That is why Jesus said in his next words: ‘But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.’ (Matthew 24:13-14)
At YBL Birmingham, we pray we will be enabled to continue to speak the truth that our hope is not in government or technological advancements or some hope of societal perfection this side of the new creation. Our hope is in Jesus Christ, who alone can save man from the root of all his problems—his rebellion against God and the resulting alienation and brokenness that it causes.
Jesus spoke Matthew 24:14 to us, assuring that this good news will be preached to all the nations, and then the end will come. It will happen because our Sovereign King has promised it. God is in control of all nations and their rulers. He is not dismayed. Therefore we have hope, and our love can continue to warm those around us as we draw life and strength from the white-hot fires of His love for us.