Thursday, April 05, 2018

Difficult days

 "You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.  They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.  They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!"

This morning, as I read, I once more came to this amazing passage.  It has always fascinated me and I slow down as I read it.  In this passage to Timothy Paul tells him that in the last days difficult times will come, but when we think of difficult times we think of famine, disease, plague or natural disaster...maybe even war.  That is not at all what Paul sees.  When he sees difficult times it's connected to how people live out their lives.  

The days will be difficult because of how people live, how they treat one another, how they act.  They will be difficult because love for others will be missing, because we will be surrounded by narcissists who only care for themselves, because the veneer of civility, of people treating one another kindly will be gone.  The people around us will only care for themselves, like hungry wild beasts they will tear one another apart.

Welcome to difficult days.  Here we are, they have come.  Read Paul's words carefully.  You will see all of it fulfilled on the nightly news, in traffic as you go to work, in relationships as divorce increases, in schools as children continue to kill one another.  The days are difficult because evil is unrestrained and people vent every vile emotion they have on anyone who gets in their way.

Welcome to the fulfillment of Paul's words, the difficult days, the last days.  

So, how should we live in the midst of this?  How do we respond?  The only response to those in chaos around us comes from Jesus' own lips and it's in two passages.  I won't post the text here because I want you to read his words.  Our response is this:  John 13:34-35 and Luke 6:27-38.

Those verses encapsulate the Christian response to difficult days.  That's how we live in the midst of difficult days.

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