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A cry for help?

September 2003 | by Neville F. Rees

What is happening to our culture? Recent figures for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) among our young people have surely shocked us. Increases of 500% and clinics overwhelmed with patients are not just disturbing — they are devastating.

Questions come thick and fast: What is going wrong? Why is the message of safe sex not heeded? What is causing this crisis?

Add to this scene the figures for teenage drinking, smoking and drug-taking, and we need to ask what is happening. ‘What can be done?’ is the cry.

Is it any explanation that our present young people are the children of parents who introduced the ‘permissive society’ in the 1960s? The call then was for freedom of expression and experiment.

It is alarming that in the span of one generation we — as parents and grandparents — are seeing the bitter fruit of what was sown then.

Responsibility

We have produced a generation that does not (or perhaps cannot) take responsibility for its behaviour. In lifestyle and practice its members live by the old slogan — ‘live and let live’.

Yet side-stepping all the old guidelines, those caught up in this moral free-for-all pursue pleasure and ‘self-fulfilment’, ignoring the terrible consequences, both immediate and future.

Who is to blame? Where is parental influence for good? What about grandparental input? They are virtually non-existent, for everyone does what is right in his own eyes.

There is an arrogance abroad: ‘Who are you to tell me what to do? ‘Moral ‘no go’ areas are being created in our towns and cities for those who want to indulge their lusts.

Some local authorities, aided and abetted by schoolteachers, instruct children as young as seven in immorality on the pretext of sex-education. Others scramble to attract the ‘pink pounds’ of affluent homosexuals.

We all share the blame it seems, and to pick up the pieces seems nearly impossible.

Not beyond redemption

What can and should be done? We can bury our heads in the sand and hope it will all go away. But we cannot turn the clock back. We must be open to the facts.

Have we forgotten the words in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11: ‘Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you’ (see also Galatians 5:19-21 and Ephesians 5:5).

We ought not to dismiss this generation. Their behaviour and lifestyle shuts them out of the kingdom of Christ. They are deprived, soiled and spoiled. But they are not beyond redemption.

How can we respond?

What can be done?

This situation must surely lead us:

1. To pray earnestly for those who are ensnared in sin. That they might see that they will destroy themselves morally, spiritually and physically if they continue in their way of life. We need to pray specifically that our Lord Jesus Christ will arrest and deliver them from the power of sin, as he did the Corinthians.

2. To nurture our own children and young people with understanding, love and firmness, illuminating them with gospel light. What about clear, direct and compassionate talks on sex and its abuse in our church youth groups?

3. To encourage Christian young people to be a clear light and influence to their peers, and not to compromise nor buckle under pressure. Make Joseph, Esther, Ruth and, above all, Jesus Christ himself, the examples for them to follow.

Civilisation at risk

Some final thoughts. Why do those in government, both national and local, and those working in education and social work, not see the consequences of their permissive attitudes?

We are guilty of short-sightedness. Low levels of control and compassion, together with foolish humanistic thinking, creates communities with no sense of responsibility, accountability and decency.

The day is desperate. We live in times of communal self-destruction that threaten civilisation itself. We need to feel our despair and helplessness and cry to the Lord, confessing our own sins — that he might ‘rend the heavens and quickly come down’.

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