Solomon warned, “One who is full loathes honey, but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet” (Prov 27:7). Many Americans are turning up their noses at the Bread of Life in favor of the empty calories of humanism, materialism, and health-and-wealth-ism served up from pulpits catering to narcissism, in which the diners are both the center and circumference of their own world.
In a land where 88% of the households own a Bible, with an average of 4.7 Bibles per household, only 37% read it at least once a week and 39% of the millennials (those born after 1980) have never read it. Only 33% of that generation believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life.
Before we judge a generation, we need to ask ourselves what role previous generations played in the seeming demise of interest in things spiritual. Did we fail to teach our children? In some cases, yes. Did we fail to set the right example for our children? In some cases, yes.
One might say, “But that’s not me. I took my children to church; I taught them the Bible.” That may be, but in some cases what they learned in church was bigotry, self-righteousness, judgmental-ism, and sterile legalism.
One cannot teach what one does not know, and some of us, like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, knew religion, but we did not know God.
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 2:2-4).
“And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us” (1 John 3:23-25).
Is America turning its back on those who know God as seen in their faith and love nourished by the Holy Spirit, or has it turned its back a religiosity and hypocrisy? If the latter is the case, there is hope.
Jery Bailey, Elder
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