I'm sure that, like me, you're tired of all the news media's coverage of Anthony Weiner and his unsavory peccadillos, and not only him, but a seemingly endless number of people, in what we call "high places," being caught, figuratively (and literally), with their pants down.
And we wonder, "Why is this?" What has brought this kind of behavior about? What's causing people to act this way? And, as already mentioned, so many of them lately?
Well, you've probably already guessed that I have an opinion as to "Why" and I'm going to share it with you. I've discussed this reasoning with you in the past, but it's been some time ago and, in light of all the recent news, "ad nauseam," I'm going to re-offer it for you to consider. See if you don't agree with me.
I'd like to first offer a "caveat" and say that I don't make any claims to being an expert in this field, but as far as opinions go, I feel that mine is just as valid as any of the newscasters and pundits offering theirs in their respective media outlets.
Simply stated, in my opinion we've failed in our present society to maintain a set of standards by which people should be expected to live up to. When I say that we've "failed to maintain" our standards, I'm saying that we have, over the course of the last 50 years or so, changed society's standards to fit however it is that we like to act. To behave. Allow me to amplify a bit further on "standards" for a moment.
In Washington DC there exists the National Bureau of Standards. The department of government maintains standards of weights and measures for this country. There is a standard for one foot in length, one yard etc., and other measures of length. Also, a standard is there for units of weight and units of capacity. Here's a question for you: Why is it necessary for this department to exist?
In order to adequately answer that question I think we need to define the meaning of the word "standard." The dictionary gives us this: "(1) something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison. (2) Anything as a rule or a principle that is used as a basis for judgment. (3) A normal requirement of quality. (Now watch this last one) (4) Standards, morals, ethics, habits, etc. established by authority, custom or an individual as acceptable."
It's in the area of #4 that we run into our problem. It's my humble opinion that we, as a nation in general, have gone from operating by standards found in the Bible to operating by standards established by men. Having changed the basis of our standards doesn't it stand to reason that a result would be seen in our morals, ethics, customs & habits? That they would become "acceptable" behavior?
You see, a "standard" is supposed to be something that we measure up to. Something that we can lay alongside for a comparison. The very ideal of a "standard" is to have an unchanging basis so we can tell whether our actions, our rulers and yardsticks, our gas pumps, our grocery store scales, etc. are what they are supposed to be when compared to the basis.
In furtherance of that ideal, if whatever we're measuring doesn't fit the standard, the correction is supposed to lie with us. The method is NOT to make the comparison, look at the difference and then CHANGE THE STANDARD to fit us. But, in reiteration, it's my opinion that we've done exactly that - changed the standard rather than ourselves.
Think about it for a moment. Just about every occupation, even the military, has rearranged (a polite word) their standards and you might be wondering why this has occurred. Simply stated, so that no segment of our society will be offended or left out by not meeting the set standards.
Is it therefore any wonder that we see the types of behavior we've been witnessing these last few years? Any wonder why the "acceptability" of perverse or criminal behavior has broadened like it has.? Why behavior that would have never been openly seen a few years ago is now the accepted norm? The sad answer to those "thought questions" is that we've constantly changed our standards to fit our changing mores and behavior.
A short illustrative story and then we'll close our thoughts for today. Back during the great Civil War, during the heavy fighting of one of the battles, a Confederate soldier was assigned to carry the "colors." The "Standard" or the flag, if you will. The reason for someone "posting the colors" is so that the other soldiers know where to go, where they are supposed to be.
Our young "standard bearer" made his way through the fighting, to a position out in front of the rest of his unit. He planted the "colors" and when he looked around, he was the only one out there. One of his comrades yelled out, "Bring the colors back down nearer the troops. The fighting is too heavy, we can't come up any higher."
The young soldier bearing the "Standards" replied, "The flag is firmly planted. Tell the troops to move up to the flag."
To tie our thoughts to a spiritual lesson today, let me just do it this way. In Luke 13:23 the apostles asked Jesus a question that I'm going use to wrap up this lesson. They asked Him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" This question and Jesus's subsequent reply indicates that many will not be. Will be lost.
In His sermon on the mount, Jesus had told them about the "broad way" and the "narrow way" and if you think about it, the "narrow way/gate" is the standard by which the saved will be measured. Look at what He said in answer to their question: "strive to enter through the narrow gate; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able." Luke 13:23-24 (ESV)
What was done here was this: the standard was set. It was not changed, even though Christ knew that "many" would not meet it and would be eternally lost. What did not happen was this: He did not gather a panel of apostles/disciples together and seek their input as to the setting of standards for entry into heaven.
I don't know about you, but I for one, feel comforted by the fact that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever." That the "standards" for salvation was set by Him and was not, nor will be, changed so that a lot of people will not be "offended or left out."
There's two ways for standards and people to be joined. Either we lower the standards to fit the people's level, or we bring the people up to fit the standards. Unfortunately, society as taken the first option and I believe this to be the reason for most of the aberrant behavior we're witnessing lately.
As we saw in Luke 13, the "standards" are firmly set in place. Applying the Confederate soldier's admonition, let's move up to where they are.