Reflections by John Stell September 2022

Over the last several years, I have noticed a disturbing trend within our society. Even today it did not escape my notice, as I encountered a book at the store entitled, “Way of the Reaper.” While I have never read the book and I intend no disrespect toward the author, it is yet another telling sign of the glorification of death occurring within our culture.

As time passes in our world, it seems that humans have begun to openly embrace a culture that fosters the taking of life, no matter what avenues are used to achieve it. As our society continues to worship death, we should not be surprised by the brazen attacks on life that occur with more frequency. There is support for the idea that God does not send evil to befall us, but rather He allows things to transpire. If we choose to turn away from The Author of Life, there becomes an absence of life, a vacuum that is filled with darkness, sin, and death. Even conventional secular wisdom understands that, “Every action has an opposite and equal reaction.” Many think this is a law of science, but it is the law of truth.

Every decision we make has a consequence. The consequence may be good or bad, but there is an outcome nevertheless. When we openly glorify death, then that is what we will encounter. Drugs. Abortion. War. Mass shootings. Suicide. Human trafficking. At every turn, we see the underlying message that life is expendable and unimportant, and this message is amplified greatly by television, social media platforms, and video games. We have nurtured entire generations to casually disregard life as something meaningless, and death has become normalized, even idolized in some cases.

There is a sense of urgency among some regarding this insidious culture that is becoming increasingly pervasive. People may ask, “What can we do to prevent this darkness from enveloping humanity?” First, we should evaluate our own hearts and minds. In every thought, action, or word, we should stop and ask ourselves: Is this LIFE affirming, or is it DEATH affirming? Regrettably, very few in these days have been willing to turn back to God, repenting of our sins both individually and as a nation, and fighting against the wickedness in ourselves. Even Nineveh was more attuned to the need for repentance than the modern world is!

Christ asks all of us the same question that He asked in the Gospels to those who were ill, weighed down physically and spiritually by the burden of both sin and physical ailments: “Do you want to be well?” What is Christ to do when a person or nation responds, “NO”? Christ will not force us to do anything. That is the gift of free will. When our nation willingly chooses to worship death, what should we expect? And yet then we begin to point fingers at God or the person across the street who holds different political beliefs as the source of this plague. We refuse to take personal responsibility for our own role in these decisions, instead doing the very thing that Christ warned us not to do: Becoming fixated on the speck in our brother’s eye instead of removing the log from our own.

The only correct response from any of us is to forgive others, to beg for forgiveness, and to fall on our knees praying with the utmost intensity, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me the sinner!” We must understand that if we are not willing to show remorse and repent for the ways in which we have contributed to a culture of death, how do we expect God to heal us and our land?

Come & See Orthodox Christianity