by Terry James
My next-to-final Nearing Midnight column for 2012 presented my opinion that there was no peace on earth as we celebrated the birth of the Prince of Peace. Earth’s history is replete with proof that nature abhors a vacuum. Existence in this dimension must fill with something, in the absence of another. In the case of human nature, the absence of peace means violence rushes to fill the vacancy.
As we enter this new year of 2013, the murders of the children and others at the Connecticut kindergarten is one most visible case of such proof. There is much evidence that violence is gushing into every vacuum created by humanity’s deliberate refusal to accept God’s moral counsel. One such instance of unchecked, global, sexual violence is presented in the following excerpt:
Doctors have announced that a young Indian woman who was gang raped and severely beaten on a bus in India’s capital, New Delhi, has died at their Singapore hospital.A statement by Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital where the 23-year-old victim was being treated said she "died peacefully" early on Saturday… The horrific ordeal of the woman galvanised Indians, who have held almost daily demonstrations to demand greater protection from sexual violence, from groping to rape, that impacts thousands of women every day, but which often goes unreported. The victim and a male friend were traveling in a public bus on December 16 night when they were attacked by six men who raped her and beat them both. They also…stripped both naked and threw them off the bus on a road. Police have arrested the six attackers. (Aljazeera, Reuters, 12/12/12)
I intentionally left out some graphic details of the horrendous acts done to this young woman.
Again, violence rushes in where there is an absence of true peace–that which is only available through the Prince of Peace.
Certainly, this generation cries out for peace. Most conspicuous in this regard is the global outcry for a cessation of hostilities between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors. The hue and cry for peace, however, can be heard from every quarter on earth. From nations in conflict with each other, from ethnic groups warring one against another, from communities experiencing ever-increasing violence, from families in turmoil, from individuals who murder and maim each other, every hour of every day,
"They cry peace, peace! when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11).
This generation seeks to calm the rage, but does so through anything and everything but the one and only source of true peace, Jesus Christ.
Often, in discussions involving the state of the world, it is said that societies such as the most brutal regimes upon the planet have no regard for human life. Such accusations imply that America and Western Europe are the truly civilized societies and cultures of planet Earth. However, with more than 1 million children legally murdered while still in their mothers’ wombs every year in the United States, the assertion that America honors life more than do the barbarous nations of Asia or Africa is hypocrisy. The hypocrisy is magnified many times over when we consider that this nation has had God’s grace shed upon it in ways no other nation, with the possible exception of Israel, has ever experienced.
Darkness has not come upon America because of wicked regimes suppressing gospel truth. Darkness is engulfing us because we, as a people, are turning our backs on God. We are deliberately and methodically turning off God’s light so that we can do our sinful deeds under cover of darkness. American money has inscribed on it "In God We Trust." Today, it would be more accurate to say that our slogan is "In Money We Trust."
Growing numbers of men are following the "if it feels good, do it" tenets taught by humanism and vividly portrayed by Hollywood. Divorce rates continue to climb, the majority of divorces due to men leaving wives and children to pursue relationships that require of them little or no responsibility. This is not to say that women are not culpable as well. Statistics show a growing number of women are deserting husbands and children for the same self-centered reasons.
Why get married? That is another attitude that pervades American culture today. Single mothers who have never been married constitute a rising tide of irresponsible behavior that has resulted in great societal, cultural, and fiscal tumult.Federal welfare entitlements, rather than help lessen or eliminate the resultant cultural insanity, feed the proliferation of illegitimacy. Gangs of youth without fathers to nurture and discipline them cling to each other and rage against a society that neither understands nor seems to care except when crimes committed by the gang members on occasion directly touch our lives.
Abortion proponents give unwanted children (such as those who end up in gangs and who might predictably produce future gang members) as good reasons for ending pregnancies. Such children, if allowed to be born, they say, will only suffer the abuse of America’s gang culture or worse. The truth is, however, that abortion imprints upon the minds of our children–and everyone else–the idea that human life is a commodity like any other commodity and can be discarded without a second thought. Man, not God, it is implied, has authority over life and death. The message clearly has gotten through to the young gang members who slaughter each other each night across America.
Although fighting in the streets of this nation has so far been confined to youth gangs sporadically shooting it out in our larger cities, troubling reports of increased drug dealings and other criminal activities in suburban and even rural areas should serve as a wake-up call. Rumors of wars threaten to turn into actual wars if peace is not forthcoming.
So-called "gangbangers"–inner city youth gang members–sometimes now receive something akin to diplomatic recognition by city officials and other leaders who desperately wish to negotiate an end to gang crime and gang war. Although such overtures to these juvenile thugs are well-intentioned, they serve to give gang leaders and the gangs themselves increased prestige, power, and authority, thus making the gang life more attractive to youngsters. Rarely is peace made and never is peace maintained through these "summit" negotiations.
The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3 that in the last days, perilous times will come. He wrote that many people will be fierce in those closing moments of human history. Death dealing carried on by the gangs and the drug dealers who rove our streets late at night and make thousands of new gang members through death threats and thousands of new customers through addictions indeed prove we live in a time when a growing number among us are of fierce demeanor. How long can it continue at the present rate of increasing ferocity until every street in America becomes a battle zone like those streets in so many Third-World countries?
Violence is on the rise while labor unions across America sense that right-to-work laws are beginning to catch on in many places. Gangster-like thugs among the union memberships use violence against those who want to work without paying dues to those unions. Several top leaders of unions have even threatened–on camera—that blood will flow as a result of the right-to-work legislation that is being passed around the nation.
Jesus, the greatest of all prophets, foretold that conditions within human interaction will be as they were in the days of Noah, at the time of His next intervention into human history. We read of those conditions:
“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11).
According to our minute-by-minute news headlines, it seems violence might be very near Genesis 6 levels.
by Terry James