As our national culture continues to degenerate, the deterioration shows up in some of the least expected places. Last week I conducted a funeral service for a man who was the victim of a senseless homicide. Over the past thirty years (more or less depending on location), it has become a common practice in memorial services to host an open mike session, giving anyone an opportunity to comment about the deceased. What originally seemed to be a good idea has unfortunately turned south on far too many occasions. I counseled the family to avoid such an opening for remarks and they wholeheartedly agreed. Tragically, many appropriate observations go unheard because of the abuse of a few knuckleheads.
Those who willingly desecrate a function that calls for the highest degree of respect are an open demonstration of an utter lack of decorum and a larger than life picture of stupidity. This entire difficulty models America the Beautiful in present times. At the expense of the majority, we are told that incredibly ridiculous ideas deserve a platform and we had better march to the new drummers. Trans-types should be able to visit the restrooms of their choice; children should be introduced to sexual perversion information in grade school; money spent on our military is a waste, but dollars invested in social change and political correctness is a pressing necessity. These purveyors of propaganda continue to screech even as America’s coffin is being loaded into the hearse.
I have witnessed many incidents when those taking advantage of a speaking opportunity which, by the way, is allegedly about the departed, have quickly morphed it into a full blown dialogue about themselves. This is totally characteristic of the “it’s all about me society.” It has been so completely infused into so many that it can’t help but come out. Jesus, speaking to the religious heavyweights of his day said: “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34). Solomon added: “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (Proverbs 18:7).
Conforming to the “it must be someone else’s fault” contemporary attitude, modern psycho-babble has even put an ugly dent in the fender of the dead. A few years ago my wife and I attended a service for the father of a church member. This man’s son railed on for nearly thirty minutes about his deplorable childhood and the insufficiencies of his father. The motorcade is moving down the street and traffic is moving at the usual pace, rendering no respect.
It is reasonable to assume that when this murder case goes to trial, the defense will argue that the aggressor is not really to be blamed. This reasoning will be based on alleged negative circumstances in his life that crippled his conscience or clouded his judgment. Side stepping incrimination has become an art form which is embraced in universities as much as the courtroom. God always put the blame squarely on the right target. He correctly points His finger at various humans, the devil and in some instances, even Himself. In this case, there was a perpetrator who should be held responsible and appropriately punished.
But the issue goes deeper than the human personalities involved which is evidenced in the inevitable interrogation of God—why would He allow something of this tragic nature to occur? And so in a larger sense, the very question is casting blame on God. To suggest that God could eliminate all evil in the world is absolutely correct. He could, but do we really want that? All evil removed would wipe out human free will which we tenaciously cherish. Does not some sin lurk in everyone’s heart? “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). Jesus indicated that murder and adultery begin in the heart. That being the case most, if not all, individuals have already been indicted before heaven. The existence of evil is necessary to provide the opportunity to exercise our free will. The true suggestion is: Lord, please eradicate all evil except my own and perhaps a few of my friends because we would like to continue to do as we please. The corpse has arrived at the graveyard!
Some people are capable of enough logic to reason the issue thusly: if God allows evil to exist, isn’t He responsible for its various manifestations? The religious would be nervous to accuse God while accusers would be happy to allow the entire problem to point back at the Creator. Not to worry…the Lord assumes full responsibility: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7) What a beautiful thing—our sin is God’s fault. The pallbearers are in place.
But alas, the same Deity that prevented His offspring from being robotic by introducing choice provided a remedy when they elect sin and its eternal consequences. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:8, 9).
The casket is being lowered—is there hope of a resurrection? “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).
America—is our epitaph “…from dust thou art, to dust shall thou return”?