Wrong Values

November 7, 2012

As our society becomes more and more secularized, the vocabularies and the categories we use to describe our values have become shallower. Optimism replaced hope.  Tolerance replaced love.  Pleasure replaced joy.  Privacy replaced peace.  And a trust in the collective knowledge replaced faith.

The former values – hope, love, joy, peace, and faith – were of different quality than these newer ones – optimism, tolerance, pleasure, privacy, and trust in collective knowledge.  What does an optimist know of the eternal hope we have in Christ?  What does an optimist who only thinks of the glass of half full, know of the glass that will overflow with the love that the Father has poured out on us?  How great is the love that God poured out on us that we should be called the children of God! For that is what we are!

And what of love?  Tolerance knows nothing of love; tolerant were the pharisee and the teacher of the law who passed by on the road to Jericho and ignored the one who was beaten by robbers.  Tolerance lives and let lives; it also lives and lets the neighbor die.  Love, on the other hand, dies so that the other can live.  Love takes on the burden so that the other can flourish.

And joy!  What does this world and all its pleasures know of joy!  Oh if only a carnal mind can with all its powers taste the smallest joy of the divine life!  Then all its former sweetness will taste as sand and bitter as weeds.  This world that takes its temporary pleasures as the ultimate end – how can it know that these lesser joys are but means to know the author of all good things?

And peace.  We seek nothing from others; we wish to be left alone.  Our homes have become our own domains.  It is as if our homes are our kingdoms, and how could this be if “the kingdom of God is here!”  How can we claim privacy as a great virtue when our God lives always in community?

Finally, faith.  The world trusts in the collective knowledge; it places trust in what someone else knows.  We slide gently into the amnesia of this blind trust, and thereby vaccinate ourselves from the saving faith.  Oh what hubris!  For in mistakenly thinking that we know everything, we have forgotten the only knowledge that can save us!  What good is it the gain the whole world, only to lose your own soul!

As our values become shallower, so does our appreciation of morality.  We are less able to discern right from wrong.  It is the final curse of the fruit of Good and Evil; the very taste fades away and we begin to think that there is no such thing as morality.  We see ourselves as soul-less and thereby we literally lose our souls.

The only antidote is worship.  For only revelation, only in recognizing that there is another dimension outside our own, are we able to get the fuller picture of these values.  The only saving measure is humility.

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