by Hal Lindsey
On Facebook or other social media, are you reluctant to say what you really think? Is the possibility of backlash too disheartening? Is it easier to just post pictures of your dog? Does mentioning your faith at work put you at risk of losing your job? Does walking down a street that once felt like home now make you feel queasy? Have family get-togethers become minefields? Have Thanksgiving and Christmas become exercises in staying away from the mines’ many triggers?
I hope none of those things are true for you, but for millions they have become facts of life. As a culture, we have lost the grace to allow one another to make mistakes, or have opinions different from our own. Fuses are short and the landmines are being loaded with more and more explosives. It’s getting dangerous out there – dangerous to speak your mind, to wear certain clothing items such as uniforms, or to say what you thought were harmless things. When people assume you’re talking in code, anything you say can and will be used against you.
The rage engulfing America has been building for a while. A Time Magazine cover story in 2016 promised to explain, “Why we’re losing the Internet to the culture of hate.” The article focused on internet “trolls.” But it was really about the loss of common decency.
The Time article lamented that if you say on the internet that you’re struggling with depression, someone “will try to goad you into killing yourself… And it’s seeping from our smartphones into every aspect of our lives.” Covered by the web’s anonymity, people who would defend a kitten’s right to happiness seem blithely willing to shame young women for being skinny, fat, tall, short, or even smart. They often recommend suicide as a remedy.
The shamers and haters latch onto anything different about a person and try to humiliate them with it. They mock the deaths of the recently deceased. They find and publish private information about random people. They send rape threats to women with whom they disagree.
Look at the world of athletics. We used to treasure something called sportsmanship. Today it’s seen as a sign of weakness. I don’t think we can calculate sportsmanship’s value to society, or what the loss of it means in the long term.
2 Timothy 3:1 famously says, “In the last days perilous times will come.” The verses that follow tell us why the last days will be full of peril. Those verses do not say the last days will be perilous because of earthquakes, famine, or pestilence. They assign the greatest last days peril to human moral failings.
The first five verses of that chapter say, “In the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
What makes the last days perilous? Primarily, the sudden and dramatic loss of moral character. Need an example? Look around.