In a word … no. It's been that way from the beginning.
If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. 1 Timothy 6:3-5 (NIV)
When I read this verse, it's hard for me to believe that it was written almost 2,000 years ago. Every word in it is as applicable today as it was then, though I sometimes forget that the people then were every bit as corrupt as they are today. Whatever happened to common courtesy? What about simply considering the consequences before we act on our impulses? Has the Golden Rule been melted down and fashioned into a dollar sign that hangs around someone's neck on a chain?
In the past, I've touched on this subject, but it just seems to be getting worse and worse. I've said many times that this is not the country—nor the world I grew up in. It was once possible to travel to another country—at least most of them—without fear of being accosted or even killed simply because of the differences in opinion that we may have or the gain that some nefarious character might have in taking advantage of us. Now, parents must consider the wisdom of allowing their children to play unattended in their own back yards. I'm not trying to say that things were completely safe when I was a child. I come from the generation that found the need to post pictures of missing children on milk cartons. But, no one could debate the fact that our world has changed drastically in the last three decades.
When I was in elementary school, I was taught that the United States was a “melting pot”. That all were welcome—all four of my grandparents were immigrants—and it wasn't necessary for any scrutiny to be cast over (most) of the people who came here looking for a better life. They were willing to assimilate into the virgin culture that was The American Dream. Sure, they brought with them the traditions of their homelands, but they added them to society and didn't attempt to segregate themselves in such a way as to be unwelcoming to the citizens that were their neighbors. Once they were assimilated into the population, they were Americans, and that was something special, regardless of what anyone may tell you. First generation Italian, German, and Japanese Americans willingly, no gladly enlisted in the armed services during World War II only be sent into combat to kill the Italian, German and Japanese soldiers of the Axis powers. But that was a completely different time.
But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of Godliness, but denying its power. Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV)
Whether its racism, misogyny, misandry, homophobia, xenophobia or any other word that you choose to hide your hate behind, it all springs straight from Satan himself. He is the lord of this world. He and his minions are out there right now, stirring up as much trouble as they can because he knows just how weak and susceptible we are to their influences. How easily we can be manipulated into saying and doing things that are tribal in nature. If everyone on earth was asexual, blue skinned and black haired, went to the same church and had the same political beliefs, there would still be those who hated others because they didn't eat the same thing for breakfast. That's how Satan works. He influences irrational beliefs that some of us hold so dear that we're willing to ruin someone else's life if they don't agree with us.
But there is hope. It lies in each of us. We are the messengers. We are the calm and gentle voice of reason. We are Christians—followers of Jesus Christ. We live our lives to glorify Him and spread the Word of His love for not just us, but for those who we consider our enemies. We are told to feed them, to clothe them and to love them regardless of their feelings toward us. But, please don't misunderstand. We aren't to be taken advantage of. We aren't to be duped into actions that don't glorify God by allowing ourselves to be deceived by those who are unrepentant. All sin can be forgiven through repentance—except one. We've all heard the third commandment: “Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who does.” In the original Hebrew, the word “take” is translated as “carry”. “Thou shalt not carry the Lord's name in vain” clearly has a different connotation. I interpret it as “If you commit evil in the Lord's name, you will not be forgiven.” Can you think of any examples of this in today's world?
Here's the bottom line: We are his children. We are to maintain his covenant. But we are not here to be victimized. There are those out there who truly want to destroy us, just like the people wanted to destroy His disciples. Through our diligence, fellowship, but most of all, our faith, we must continue to do His work, bringing as many of His children out of the wilderness as we can, as long as we draw breath, regardless of how the odds are stacked up against us.
Today is the day. Now is the time. The battle is on!
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
G. J. Fortier is a member of Ironmen Ministries and First Baptist Church, Centerville, GA. Look for his novels on Amazon on Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.GerardFortier.com