In the 24th chapter of Matthew, Jesus talks to his disciples about the end times. He gives them many examples of what will happen and what signs to watch out for as the end draws near.
One statement He made during His dissertation has always intrigued me and left me a bit uneasy. It’s verse 12.
“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.”
If you are like me, you tend to spend a bit of time staying abreast of what is going on in our society. It’s not looking good out there. In many of our great American cities, Chicago, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles, lawlessness is now in fashion.
In the streets there is open and public murder, looting, masturbation, defecation, prostitution, drug use, assault, robbery… you get the idea.
Elected leaders openly promote these behaviors by releasing dangerous convicted criminals from jail, reducing their due sentences, restraining and preventing police men and women from doing their jobs, and failing to prosecute or bring the perpetrators to justice. The net result is that lawlessness has indeed increased. Life is very dangerous for many innocent people.
Many law enforcement personnel have become disheartened; many have retired or otherwise given up. I sometimes feel my own soul leaning toward hopelessness. Will my lifestyle eventually consist of being afraid to go out to shop, or play, or vacation? Is this what the Lord means when He said the love of many shall grow cold? Possibly, but I recently became aware of another possibility.
A few nights ago I was watching a documentary about Los Angeles and its district attorney, I became very agitated. The actions and lack of action of that office has directly contributed to the horrible plight under which many Angelenos now find themselves living. I have loved ones living down there!
Suddenly I was filled with great anger, near rage and said something out loud that should never have left my mouth as a disciple of Jesus. Fortunately, only my wife was in the room to hear it. I later repented, and asked the Lord for forgiveness.
Then it hit me, maybe that’s what He meant when He said the love of many shall grow cold. It’s not that people will become depressed and listless, uncaring and unmotivated. That certainly could happen in some cases; but on the other hand maybe people will become enraged. What would be the net difference? Nothing at all!
As a matter of fact, the latter would actually be a greater demonstration that one has let the current lawlessness cause his or her love of Christ to become cold.
James 1:20 says
for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
Indeed! There is only one Lawgiver and Judge.
Matthew 7:1-3 says:
Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
The message is clear to me, as we watch and see what is going on around us, we must not let our love grow cold, neither through abject despair and sorrow, nor through outright rage and anger as I was doing. In either case the love of God is not put first. Anger may actually be fear in disguise.
In the 21st chapter of Revelations is says
But for the cowardly (fearful) and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
Strange how the Word lumps of fearful right in there with the rest of the evil-doers. However, when you think about it fear is not faith, and we know that only faith can save us, not fear.
1 John4:18 says
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not been made perfect in love.
So I must remember the One who is in control. To escape judgement, I must not judge, but commit myself to a faithful God, whose will and desire will be done on earth as they are in heaven.
Let’s reassure our hearts. In Psalms 37:1-5
Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Which in my case is just peace on earth and good will toward men.
Therefore, here is a message to myself, and maybe to you: pray for EVERYONE, don’t fret, don’t be angry, but be peaceful, trust in the Father in Heaven and His son, the Lord Jesus. All things will be made right eventually! Amen!
Now that is Good News Only.