Beth Nimmo, the mother of the first victim shot at the Columbine High School massacre, told an audience this week, "Our children are paying the highest price possible for decisions that we've made as a country, as a culture."
She said her daughter Rachel, who was one of 12 killed on that fateful day in 1999, was often bullied and taunted because of her strong stand of biblical faith in Jesus Christ.
The mother says, "Kids are dying all over for sad and stupid reasons---they don't know that there's a purpose, that there's a destiny. A lot of them don't know that there's a God who died on the cross for their sins."
She's right. And death has many faces in our contemporary culture---all, however, the face of evil, stealing life and purpose and destiny from this generation.
Let's look at a couple of personal stories and the "sad and stupid reasons" for their consequences. And why this generation often has no clue regarding purpose, consequences and destiny.
Beth Nimmo's daughter Rachel was eating lunch with friends on a grassy slope outside the school when she was shot to death that day. There were 11 others who would die before it ended and 26 who would be wounded.
Beth will never forget that day. As we look at the reasons why our culture is as it is, there are many and they are sometimes complicated, but some of them are obvious.
Let's look at 3 of them.
A new study of single people who consider themselves "Christians" shows many are rejecting biblical doctrines and choosing to have sex before they are married. A number of people are weighing in on this, including Focus on the Family.
In the survey, 61% of self identified Christian singles who participated in the survey said they were willing to have casual sex without being in love, while 11% said they are waiting to have sex until they are married.
Morgan Lee, writing for the Christian Post on this subject, tells the story of Heather Lindsey.
Heather moved to New York City in 2004 at the age of 22. She had been raised in Michigan and had been raised in church.
Heather says she rarely heard the Bible read in church and there was little said about one's "relationship" with God.
She says her mother's sex-ed advice was to use birth control when she became sexually active. She did. Both.
While in college, Heather "gave her heart to Christ" and there for the first time she became "convicted that pre-marital sex is wrong."
There's more to her story, but her conviction was such that she has since married and moved to Atlanta, where she has started the ministry "Pinky Promise" that encourages single women to "rise above cultural pressures" and to "stay determined to live for Christ regardless of their circumstances."
Although raised in church, she had not been taught the principles of biblical morality. And the reason for the principles.
Morgan also tells the story of Emily Maynard from Portland, Oregon, who says she has seen her friends and peers push back on abstinence or the "purity culture" out of rebellion toward those values.
The full story is linked above.
The National Association of Evangelicals has also commissioned a survey on the same subject. They found the numbers of young adults rejecting biblical morality less, but none-the-less concerning.
The conclusion of the NAE survey found that a major reason why young adults reject biblical morality is because they lack a biblical foundation and worldview and are merely " living in the moment."
A biblical worldview allows a person to "live in the moment, with a grasp of the past" in regard to eternal values and principles.
I believe the church, in too many cases, has become so focused on "relating to the current culture" in order to "reach" them, it has lost its identity. Some mainline Christian churches are blatantly embracing sexual and social conduct that the Bible clearly condemns as sin. All in an effort to increase attendance or membership.
While evangelical churches may not embrace sinful behavior, they are too often very hesitant to define what the Bible calls sin. This, under the guise of needing to "relate" to the culture in order to help them. Or "win" them.
The fact is, Truth is always relevant. The Bible is always relevant. And the church's defining mission is to transform, not relate. Clearly the message must be presented in a way people understand, but the focus must be on sharing the Good News of redemption, not simply relating to a broken culture. And affirming that which has broken it.
In our attempt to "relate," the church may have lost its identity and has become, in some cases, indistinguishable from the non Christian culture---merely a place for social contact and relationships.
It was Paul who spoke to that issue in the early church and is speaking to us now:
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:1-2).
It is very confusing to the culture when the church is silent on the message of redemption and from what individuals are redeemed. It is even more confusing to kids raised in that environment.
Relativism has led to a culture that does not debate biblical values so much as it simply dismisses them---marginalizes them, while creating a culture of moral elitism.
If a person professes to hold biblical beliefs and morals, they are mocked.
Mocking comes in a variety of forms---bullying, shunning, and other forms of negative peer pressure. It is also brought to bear in the workplace, no where more prevalent than in the entertainment industry and on the school campus.
It is not easy to stand for biblical Truth in today's culture. When people, particularly kids, do not have a good biblical understanding of the Truth and values, they sometimes fail to stand firm.
The negative impact of "forgetting God" in the culture is difficult to affirm, especially for kids. Violating God's laws bring destruction, but often it comes over time, not instantaneously.
I recall during the campaign to protect marriage from being redefined in Washington State, news people and especially radio talk show hosts would challenge me on the air, referencing other states that had redefined marriage and asking why the "sky had not fallen on them yet?"
Remember, it was Patrick Henry who said, "When people forget God, tyrants forge their chains." Sometimes the forging goes unnoticed. Often the consequences of rebelling against God go unnoticed for a time.
Relativism creates an environment much like the proverbial frog in the kettle. Everyone does what is right in their own eyes. No values or beliefs are superior to any other. Equality, tolerance, political correctness rule the day. And truth evolves.
However, without a biblical moral compass and an understanding that there are principles that are enduring and timeless, eventually chaos comes. Then disaster. Cultures collapse, people self destruct.
And history makes note of it.
While secular progressive relativism rules out the possibility of the supernatural and any future consequences, Christianity gives promises for this life and the life to come. And it assures people there is in fact a life to come.
The Judeo-Christian faith has stood on the promise of destiny since Creation.
And promises made have been promises kept.
There is no religion or philosophy that makes the claims that biblical Christianity makes.
2 Peter 1:4
And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
But all who listen to me will live in peace,
untroubled by fear of harm.”
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Be Vigilant. Be Certain. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.