Matthew 24:12-13 “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Where the NIV uses “wickedness,” the Japanese uses “lawlessness.” Read that way, this sounds like current news! I have ceased to be amazed at the incredible disregard for the law in America today, from illegal immigrants having been deported multiple times only to come back, to top law enforcement officials deciding they are above the law, to Congress trying to make the Constitution say whatever they want it to say, and everything in between. It is disgusting, and disgust is not in the spectrum of love. However, before we go dumping on everyone else, we need to take an honest look at ourselves, just as Jesus said. (Matthew 7:4) Do we obey speed limits and other traffic laws? Do we fudge on our taxes? Even more importantly, do we do things we know are not pleasing to God, just because we want to or they feel good? Society isn’t going to clean up its act until the Church cleans up its act. It is astounding to hear politicians and others claim Christian faith while espousing such things as infanticide. Their love would put liquid nitrogen to shame! A major factor in that is that we rank sins in our own minds and hearts, and we always rank the other guy’s as worse than our own. We forget that James pointed out, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.” (James 2:10-11) We want the rest of the world to obey the law, but take a pass for ourselves!
I am just as much prone to this as anyone else. To be honest, if I lived in the US I would get a concealed carry license, because I love my wife enough to want to protect her. (And yes, my Army experience tells me I am quite proficient. I feel that comes under Jesus’ instructions in the Garden of Gethsemane, recorded in Luke 22:36.) However, I am all too aware that I am not the ultimate judge of my own righteousness or lack thereof. Like Paul said, “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” (1 Corinthians 4:4) I am to ask and allow the Holy Spirit to keep tabs on the temperature of my love for God and for my neighbor, and do whatever He indicates to correct any cooling. I can’t generate agape love on my own, so my task is to “keep the riverbed clean” of anything that would hinder the flow of God’s love through me.
Father, thank You for this reminder that nothing in the world today is any sort of surprise to You. Help me trust You fully, not going around judging others but rejoicing in Your grace toward me, so that Your grace may flow through me to those others I am tempted to judge, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!