There was a saying many years ago that is rarely heard today, “There but for the grace of God go I.” It was in a day that compassion, although not nearly what it could have been nor probably ever will be, was an attribute that more than a few people attempted to attained to, the days when polio was rampant, when there were places for the mentally challenged, the insane and indigent were taken care of. And though there were incidences within the majority of these institutions of abuse, there were many who attended to the needs of those who lived there, who had no other place to go, with much compassion, care and love.
In just my lifetime I have watched as the majority of these places have disappeared, homelessness is rampant across the globe, prisons are more than overflowing past there intended capacity, and many sit glued to their television screens each evening watching programs that detail the downfall of society. The stations abound with reality police, fire and rescue shows, documentaries of prison life, and the plight of the homeless as situational comedies. We watch from our comfortable houses as evil begets evil, interrupted only by the continuous commercials promising us a better life if we only purchase their products. Compassion has been exchanged for entertainment, and the opening statement of this letter to you is now heard as “Well, it could be worse,” inferring only a selfish desire to stay away from the trouble.
The love that we are to show our neighbor, (Matt. 22:39) is reserved only for those who are like minded with us, saved for those that we believe we can trust, and then doled out only in moderation. We count our compassions today in the coinage of the realm, our checkbooks and savings accounts show how much compassion we can afford today. Our Lord borrowed a coin, (Matt. 17:27) He borrowed a colt, (Matt. 21:2) He borrowed an upper room, (Luke 22:12) He even borrowed a tomb, (Luke 23:50-56) and there were those each time He asked that were more than willing to give. How many widows are you taking care of, how many of the poor did you feed last week, do you still laugh and applaud when someone on the opposite sports team breaks their leg, are you still mocking the less fortunate, thinking the bum on the street should get up, clean up, pull himself up and get a job.
Where would you place yourself on a scale of one-to-ten on the ladder of compassion, do you make yourself feel better by throwing a little more in the plate as it passes by, maybe throwing your change in that jar at the store, giving a little more when the holidays roll around. Do you think that the good intentions of your heart are going to earn you rewards on that final day? They did all these things and more, much more than many who call themselves Christians today, and yet the Lord looked at them and said their hearts were far from Him, (Matt, 15:8) “Well, it could have been worse.” What exactly is worse when “All things happen for good to them that love God,” (Romans 8:28) “To those who know to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) Evil is abounding, it is growing and spreading at an exponential rate, and although we all knew this day was coming, it is sad to see it so.
The rallying cry of those who profess Christ seems to be one of apathy, not empathy, we watch as it happens, turn off the television, and hope that it does not appear on our doorstep, concerning ourselves with our supposed needs and wants. “Will I only be able to take one vacation this year, should I get a second job so we can get a second car, we might have to cut back from four to only three nights a week of eating out.” I have heard things come out of the mouths of those who proclaim Christ that are pathetic, self-serving, self-indulgent garbage. The world burns and we take a garden hose to the things that we believe are important, our brothers and sisters suffer persecution for the Holy name of Jesus, and we stick to ten percent at most in an envelope and call ourselves blessed. There is trouble coming to this planet the likes of which have never been seen and never will be again, (Matt. 24:21) and we get frustrated because the grocery store doesn’t have the kind of bread we like. Well, it could be worse, right?
Guess what, it’s going to get worse than you could ever imagine, and soon it will be not limited to “over there.” Our Lord is moving mightily, His hand is beginning to show His wonders, and those who have been blessed with eyes to see are watching intently at what He is doing. Many of those who are only pretending to be His servants will fall away long before the rapture occurs, the world will grab them, self will be the prime focus, the loss of what they believe they deserve, what they have come to expect, will be all that it will take. These will depend on their government to save them instead of trusting and relying on the Lord, what could have been worse has finally arrived at their doorstep, and they have been shown for who they truly are, self-centered, not Christ-centered, self-serving, not servants of Almighty God, arrogant and prideful, placing their own welfare above the needs of others.
Our wants have destroyed us, we have become complacent, our hearts have become dull, and our ears itchy. True suffering is a foreign word, reserved for those who have sinned, for the unrepentant, the fear of the Lord arrives only with the loss of those things that we have come to expect as rightfully due us. The word apostacy means abandoning God, but to turn away from something means to turn towards something else, and the world is not to blame here, we are, it is our own fault, many have become lukewarm and will be spit out. (Rev.3:16) “For He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt. 5:45) Prepare yourself if you truly are a born-again believer, if your faith rests totally and only on the Lord Jesus Christ, because it’s already starting to drizzle. “Well, it could be worse” will no longer be spoken, “How can it possibly get any worse” will be.