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How can people be so heartless?

How can people be so cruel?

Easy to be hard

Easy to be cold. – Easy To Be Hard, Song by Three Dog Night

That song touched a chord with me as a teenager during the early 70’s. I couldn’t quite see my own hard-heartedness at the time but I could sure feel it from others. Isn’t that usually the case for us to see the speck in other’s eyes but be blind to the log in our own? During that period of our U.S. history, after the turbulence of the 1960’s, there was a whole new consciousness in our culture about the need for “social justice.” All of the “rights” movements sprang up then. This song, made popular by Three Dog Night, had a profound and accurate message. It pointed out the hypocrisy of having a kind of high-minded concern for society as a whole but falling far short of deeply caring about the individuals who are closest to us.

The song goes on…

Especially people who care about strangers

Who care about evil and social injustice

Do you only care about the bleeding crowd?

How about a needed friend

We all need a friend.

This was a secular song written over 50 years ago. What does it have to say to a Christ-follower of today? In reading “We Will Not Be Silenced” by Erwin W. Lutzer, I think the message addresses the trap what we are being tempted to fall into today. Like the baby boomer youth culture of the 1960’s there was a reaction to what they believed was wrong with “society” so they sought an idealistic utopia that changed people from the outside-in rather than from the inside-out. The focus was upon the institutional justice of the society not the individual moral accountability of those who make up that society. This was the birth of today’s “Social Justice Warrior” big on mass morality but on individual morality?... Not so much.

Now fast-forward today and notice what’s happening in the church in America. Like then there is a reaction by those who say the church has lost touch and needs to be changed. That is a fair conclusion but how? Can’t we fall into the same way of thinking of secular society does that it is “the church” (that thing “out there”) is the problem rather than we individual members in the Body of Christ (the thing “in here”)? Isn’t it us as individuals who must humble ourselves, repent and be transformed? That transformation will show itself in how we are willing to sacrificially love our spouse, our children, family members, friends, co-workers…those who are closest to us who are in our circle of influence.

Many churches, Christian families and Christian friendships are being divided right now more than ever before. Lutzer writes, “So-called progressive Christians believe that traditional Christianity has failed them for one reason or another. This includes those who have been hurt by the self-righteousness of members and leaders in more traditional churches. They argue that Christianity has to be remade to survive. The argument is that historical Christianity is out of touch with our culture and shifting values of society.” (We Will Not Be Silenced, Erwin Lutzer, pg. 246-247)

As it was in the 70’s with that profoundly written popular song, “Easy To Be Hard” It also “easy” for us today for us as Christians “to be hard.” The primary issue is not “out there” with “the church” (our Christian society) but is “in here,” in our hearts where Christ lives and needs to reign. The key is each one of us at a time, repenting, turning to Him and courageously holding forth God’s truth and demonstrating His love in “a warped and crooked generation” (Philippians 2:15). This will transform us individually, then ultimately the church collectively. As this happens we will become a shining lighthouse pointing one person at a time to the only possible refuge in this perishing world…the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dear Lord, let me remember that it is not the mass of humanity that I vocalize my weak sentimental love towards but rather the individuals You have placed into my life that I show Your sacrificial love to that really matters to You. Amen

Written by Jamie Bohnett. Contact the Author:


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