The Tragic Consequences of Indifference

September 27, 2014

The Tragic Consequences of Indifference

            My heart is moved when I read Jeremiah 5:30-31.  “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;   The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”  The word “wonderful,” in this verse, could better be translated appalling.  It was something that was shocking to Jeremiah.  He couldn’t understand how God’s people could be so indifferent to what the prophets and priests were doing.  They were God’s servants and needed to set an example to all the others.

The prophets were prophesying falsely.  Jeremiah also was a prophet.  The ministry of a prophet was to receive revelation from God and communicate it to the people.  Jeremiah knew that what the prophets were saying didn’t agree at all with the message he was receiving from the Lord.  God was telling him that he should plead with the people to repent and turn from their sin.  In Jeremiah 3:14 he said, “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” If they refused to turn they would be taken captive to Babylon.  He warned them of that danger in Jeremiah 20:4.  “For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it: and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword.” The prophets were telling the people what they wanted to hear, and not what God told them to tell the people.

The priests went along with the false prophets.  The Septuagint translation of the Old Testament translates this “the priests applauded.” They didn’t want to make an issue about it.  The easy way out is to go along with the majority.

Jeremiah’s greatest lament seems to be   that “the people love to have it so.”  What we have here is indifference.  Another word for it is apathy.  People say, “What difference does it make?  I don’t care one way or the other.”

We are living in a day when people are increasingly willing to accept lower moral standards.  What was once labeled sin is now acceptable moral conduct.  To conform is easier than to reform.  “If most people do it, then I’m not in much danger of being criticized if I do it.”

It is increasingly more difficult to persuade people to have high moral standards.  Even among the people of God, what once was praiseworthy is now thought to be at the border of excessive self-denial.  Some Christians are afraid they will be called legalists if they continue to abide by the old standards.

We aren’t willing to accept lower standards in the products we buy.  We reject what we consider inferior.  Factories employ people in quality control.  They have inspectors standing on the assembly line ready to pull off anything that isn’t up to standards.  Aren’t we   inconsistent when we are willing to accept increasingly lower standards of human behavior?

The social media, especially radio and television, have contributed greatly to the lowering of our standards.  Some years back, if people saw nudity on the television screen, they would turn it off.  Now it is just accepted by most people as entertainment.  Those who make the decisions about what goes out on radio and television are showing great indifference to moral standards.  They often defend themselves by saying, “We are just giving people what they want.” How do they know what people want?  People aren’t being asked what they want.  If something indecent goes out on the air waves, and those making the choice don’t get much criticism, they assume that people approve of it.  If the standards are lowered gradually, most often people won’t complain about it.  People aren’t asking for immorality in the social media, but most of them don’t complain about it either.

It is easy to lower the standards, but it is extremely difficult to raise them.  Lowering the standards is like rolling a huge rock down a steep mountain slope.  To raise the standards is like putting the rock back up on the mountain where it was.  In a decadent culture such as ours it takes effort to maintain the standards we have.  It takes even more effort to raise them.

If we love God, we can’t be indifferent about moral values.  We want to please him.  A godly Christian will have higher standards than the rest of society.  When a good Christian is invited to participate in something immoral or indecent he should be quick to say,  “I’m a Christian and I know my Savior wouldn’t approve of that.”  They might also say, “No thanks.  I wouldn’t feel comfortable about doing that.”

Jesus died on the cross in order that we might be to the glory of God.  Titus 2:14 says, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.   If you love the praise of men more than pleasing God, you will find it difficult to be zealous of good works.  Proverbs 11:20 says, “They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.”

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