The following story is a parable presenting very real possibilities if certain views and trends continue:
A few blocks from our subdivision there is an elementary school, including kindergarten. We have a well-posted school zone with flashing yellow lights, requiring 20 mph and no cell phones. Almost every day I observe loving parents and precious little children when I drive through the zone.
Now the Parable:
According to some relativist pundits, however, we must not expect laws to be consistently enforced because speed limits shouldn’t have been there in the first place since there are no absolutes. From the religious came these assertions – everyone knows we are living in the last days and lawlessness will increase. Evil men will get worse and worse, since bad trees can never produce good fruit. There is no need to expect those living in open rebellion to any absolute laws to respect school zones. Other opinions included – everyone should have enough common sense to see that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket anyway and “what will be, will be” and “it is what it is”.
Many churchgoers seem convinced the only kingdom that really matters to God is the future kingdom when all this evil stuff will be removed. Then there will be no challenges, no mountains, no valleys; no need to get suited up in any armor since there is nothing to resist, all will be well. Jesus was simply being gracious and perhaps facetious when He instructed His disciples during the Sermon on the Mount to actually pray for the will of God the Father to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Surely He knew the only way this could possibly happen is for Him to hurry up and come get us because very little realistic difference can be made on this rebellious planet called Earth. Since the increase of lawlessness is clearly predicted and prophesied, it would be a waste of time and energy attempting to keep all those people from driving 50 mph in the posted school zone. Dedicated Christians would never want to be represented as political activists – God forbid! You know Jesus Himself said His followers were merely sheep in the midst of wolves. What lasting respect can you possibly hope for? Sure enough, because of indifference it appears the furious floods of evil are pouring over the walls too weak to resist.
Several weeks ago three elementary school children were killed in one day. The first one crushed was a beautiful little kindergarten girl with blond hair and blue eyes. As her parents wept at the scene, they commented out loud, “She was so happy to be going to school for the first time in her life. I don’t think any little girl was ever more excited.” A number of onlookers simply shook their heads and walked away. A third grade boy was also killed and two others were injured. The grieving parents and friends commented on the tragedy of the children’s future coming to such an awful and abrupt ending.
In the afternoon, as the children were leaving, a fifth grade girl was hit and knocked more than twenty feet, dying in a pool of blood. She was also a blond with great big brown eyes which were fixed wide open in sudden, unexpected, crushing death. I actually heard one person comment, “Oh well, she would probably have just grown up to face problems like Britney Spears living in this evil day. Perhaps this is the better way.” I thought, “Dear God, what am I hearing and seeing?”
Now after several weeks, 30 children have been killed and 22 more seriously injured. This week a mother and her son were struck and killed together. The mother’s hand was still tightly gripping her third-grade son’s fingers. She had told her friend, “I’m going to go every step of the way to make sure my son gets to and from school safely.” One bystander commented, “See, when lawlessness prevails, there is nothing we can do about it because who are we to expect that if there are any absolutes there is no possibility of imposing them on self-centered people? After all, who is going to determine right and wrong?”
Several people listening to the discussion asserted, “Just who do people think they are to set limits and determine how someone must drive? Everyone is free and capable of making their own choices. If people were smart, they would just keep their children at home. It would be best for kids to stay inside all day and never even go out to play in the neighborhood because it is too dangerous with pedophiles now lurking everywhere. Not even the city parks are safe anymore.”
A few days later a large group gathered not far from the school zone, and a discussion ensued. A sincere but misguided church member was heard to say, “Those of us who really know God and know about His kingdom understand that the people in the kingdom of this world are going to live irresponsibly, self-centeredly and totally indifferent toward the well-being of others.”
I responded and said, “I thought the reason we have stop signs and yellow lights in school zones is to keep irresponsible people under control because of their lawless practices. I believe we are supposed to enforce our laws in order to protect responsible citizens, all people and certainly the innocent.”
Another person answered, “Yes, but you cannot expect the people that don’t know God to care about other people.”
I responded, “I thought that those of us in the kingdom were commissioned to help other people know how to be born into God’s kingdom through faith in Christ and live responsibly caring about others.”
Someone shouted, “Yes, but references to the kingdom of God are all in the future!”
I answered, “But what about Jesus saying ‘The kingdom is near – it’s at hand. It’s right here, right now!’ It would seem to me that we all want to enforce the laws so that we keep all people including those who are not in the kingdom alive long enough that they might hear what it means to be born into God’s kingdom. Also it would seem wise to me if we kept laws in place that keep believers alive long enough and free enough to be able to openly share and reveal to everyone the kingdom of love and light.” Knowing that good government must be built on sound principles, our founders established the Constitution to protect everyone’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
A voice shouted, “That’s just foolish nonsense. You really are lost in some past religious fantasy land.”
A few days later at the suggestion of a number of people, a relatively large group gathered at a community center nearby. I attended and decided I would listen prayerfully. Quite a few people with some religious background and some regular church attendees expressed similar sentiments. “You know, this is a sign of the times proving that we really are living in the last days and evil men are getting worse and worse. They’re ungrateful and selfish and no one really is seeking after God. Remember the prophet Jeremiah said, ‘A leopard cannot change its spots.’”
A very scholarly person spoke up, “Well God never has expected anything from a fallen world. Things are happening exactly the way the Bible says they will.”
Another church member said, “That’s why we just keep hoping and praying that Jesus will come back soon and get us out of this mess!”
Another person with numerous academic credentials said, “Who do people think they are to tell someone how fast they can drive anyway. They have their rights. Everything is relative! You can’t tell others how to live their lives. Parents should teach their kids to get out of the way or stay home!”
One person boldly spoke out, “Well I know what I’m going to do. I’m not going to put up with it. I’ll put a stop to it! I’m going to a local supply house and buy some concrete and during the wee hours of the morning I’m getting out there with my wheel barrow and water and mixing it up. I will pour speed bumps that will take the undercarriage out of any car going too fast.” He asked, “Would anyone like to join me?” (I knew I would, but I remained quiet and listened, curious about the reaction that would come from the others.)
The immediate response was, “I wouldn’t dare go with you and I wouldn’t suggest you do it. You let someone hit that bump and knock their front end out of alignment and you will be taken to court and sued for everything you’ve got.”
Another person spoke up, “You can’t expect the courts to stand with you on behalf of those children. After all, the highest court in the land has made a decision not to protect the lives of the most helpless, innocent individuals in our nation – a baby in the womb of its mother.”
An obviously religious voice said, “See, that’s what I mean. It’s just a sign of the times!”
One person with a very quiet demeanor said, “Isn’t there an old saying somewhere that ‘when the righteous rule, the people rejoice or they’re happy, or something like that?’”
Someone with venomous anger in their voice said, “Who do those stupid people think they are anyway? Who is anyone to tell someone else what righteousness is? What unparalleled arrogance! Obviously they are uneducated.”
“Well, that’s right. There’s not anything we can do about it. What will be, will be. Que será será.”
Another person said, “Someday it will all be over and the sooner the better.”
A very active church member spoke out and said, “Well, all I know is it’s well with me. I know where I’m going when it all comes to an end. I’m leaving now because I’m going to go to Bible study and a prayer meeting.” People began to file out with a countenance revealing frustration, concern and confusion.
As I left the meeting, I was thinking, “I can’t believe this is happening in America.” When I got home, I sat down and reflected on what I’d heard. I knew I must do something and would never remain silent or allow the carnage to continue if I could possibly help stop it. As I meditated, a question Jesus once asked His disciples seemed very meaningful to me at that moment, “Will you also go away?” Right then I understood how well Jesus knew what it feels like to be totally alone. I knew, however, that didn’t matter because He would never leave me or forsake me or anyone else committed to His will. God the Father did forsake Jesus on the cross so those who trust Him will never be forsaken or really alone.
Jesus told His followers there are definite standards by which we measure our lives and we must understand righteousness is far more than just keeping the rules. It is allowing the important truths He shared to be written first in our hearts, and then demonstrated through our lives, becoming a clear testimony revealed for all to witness. The light that He referenced He is and we are to be, not only exposes error and irresponsible actions, but also guides us in the way we are to go, making corrections and revealing how we can love and assist our neighbors even when they boldly declare to be our enemies. We never back down in the face of opposition and lawlessness. The scripture makes it clear if we are captivated by Him, we will not be intimidated because “perfect love casts out all fear.” This is no time for timidity or passivity. I asked God to show me how I might effectively emphasize the responsibility of believers to be salt and light, standing and resisting the fury of hell while loving those adversely influenced by it. In America, we have been given both the privilege and responsibility of choosing wise leaders who will pass and enforce laws consistent with time-proven principles.
I know to some this parable of the school zone seems far-fetched. But please pause for a moment and seriously consider trends, decisions and policies put in place by congress and the courts in recent times as well as the lack of consistent enforcement of laws. When any nation fails to establish, practice and enforce principles consistent with biblical truth, they suffer serious consequences. This applies not only to Israel, the UK and the USA, but all nations desiring to live with any expression of peace on earth. All concerned Americans and believers must stand united with God in supernatural unity against the forces of evil because righteousness always exalts a nation and sin will always be a reproach to any people. I am convinced truly committed followers of Jesus are people full of compassion, but also with deep convictions and unwavering courage. We must love all those with different views and opinions, but I do not believe silence or lack of participation is positive. There is much that can be done to effectively resist a spirit of lawlessness. We can and must stand in the gap as Nehemiah did rebuilding walls necessary for everyone’s safety.
When considering present trends and the extreme destructive actions presented in this parable, I can’t help but wonder if many professing Christians and Americans are guilty of foolish, fatalistic apathy.
Please forward this if you share similar prayerful concerns. You can also go on my Facebook page and read something Betty wrote while she was praying totally unaware of this commentary.