For those who think the world has gone mad, remember this is not our first rodeo. Sanity has only been with us in bits and pieces throughout history. Evil and persecution is a mainstay on this planet. For a time, some of us were lured into complacency back when television was wholesome, babies were protected blessings, and it seemed we all agreed on what was evil and what was good.
But changes in attitude are happening fast and furiously–emphasis on furious. For instance, it seems like just yesterday (1996 to be exact) that it was safe to defend traditional marriage. That was the year Bill and Hillary Clinton supported the Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage as between one man and one woman only to later change their minds. Now, if you say you are in favor of traditional marriage, you will be persecuted faster than you can say Chick-Fil-A.
Let’s not be surprised, however. “Remember what I told you: \’A servant is not greater than his master.\’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:20).
Jesus Christ was the first persecuted Christian, followed by his apostles. In the year 67, the Roman emperor, Nero, set fire to the city of Rome and blamed it on the Christians. Then, he ordered unimaginable tortures and death to Christians throughout the Roman Empire, including St. Paul and St. Peter. And so it began and continues to this day. In Communist and Muslim countries, Christians are obviously persecuted and killed. But there is a bloodless persecution going on among the rest of the world.
Cheer up, Jesus warned us. There is comfort in that. Things are transpiring, as he knew they would.
It’s also a comfort to not be alone and to be connected with like-minded people. I especially love the wisdom of the Venerable and Most Reverend Fulton John Sheen (1895 – 1979) who saw where we were headed.
“America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance — it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.”
“The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. The Tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.”
The fact the enemies of God must face is that modern civilization has conquered the world, but in doing so has lost its soul. And in losing its soul it will lose the very world it gained.” ―from, Characters of the Passion: Lessons on Faith and Trust.
“Very few people believe in the devil these days, which suits the devil very well. He is always helping to circulate the news of his own death. The essence of God is existence, and He defines Himself as: \’I am Who am.\’ The essence of the devil is the lie, and he defines himself as: \’I am who am not.\’ Satan has very little trouble with those who do not believe in him; they are already on his side.” ―from, Life of Christ
This is not our first rodeo, but will it be our last? Some believe we are in the end times. I’d like to say things cannot get any worse, but I’ve been shown otherwise on that statement before. Seriously though, how much worse can things get? On second thought, don’t answer that question.
Ultimately, it does not matter in the face of eternity. The Christians in the lion’s den could have asked the same question: How much worse can things get? Yes, things are bad now (and good too in many ways). They’ve been bad before. Such is the way of the world.
But here is the bright side: We are not the ones with the problem. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20).
And Jesus is with us: \”I am with you always, until the end of the world\” (Mt. 28:20). Everything is going to be okay.
© 2013. Patti Maguire Armstrong. All Rights Reserved.
Photography: See our Photographers page.