My older son has discovered something I have always known. My father may not be intellectually gifted, but he is practical and he is wise. And over breakfast today Dad said that the path our society has taken over the past 50 years horrifies him. The politically correct advocacy of multiculturalism he sees as a disaster.
Mum commented that she sees a generation of hard women, who oppress their sons, and are not talking to their mothers. She says daughters are cutting their mothers off — when they have done nothing wrong.
The bonds of natural affection are fraying. And this cuts into resilience: which we need: it is hurrican season in the Pacific and at least two people are dead there. You need a functioning society — which, praise the LORD, we still have — to recover from these things.
And you need, as a Church, to have people who are growing.
2 Peter 1:1-11
1Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
3His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature. 5For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, 6and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, 7and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. 8For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For anyone who lacks these things is nearsighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins. 10Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble. 11For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.
It is clear from this passage that some of this work is things we choose to do. It is also clear that this is a process: we need to add to our faith goodness, knowledge, endurance, godliness, mutual affection and love.
Knowledge does not come without hitting the books. Endurance does not come if you do not train for it. If you are a distance athlete, you will need to do two or three hour runs: in life you will have to hang in through difficult times.
And mutual affection requires that you are aware of your own flaws and can tolerate that of others.
Righteousness? Well, none of us attain it. We get close. But if we think we are righteous, we are telling ourselves lies. It is God’s mercy not our works that causes salvation.
But you see the saved in the lives of those around them. And we have to choose to be salt, light, truth and love: not politics, corruption and cowardice. It is the path you choose, the daily choices that matter. Not what the chuch thinks of you on Sunday.