There are protocols in a civilized culture. These are standards upheld which are relied on and seen as sure and true. Statements like “The captain goes down with the ship,” and oaths like the Hippocratic oath or the Marines’ motto “Semper Fi” – all are codes of honor that are securing. If I’m in the Marines and am wounded on the field, I know I will not be left behind. My brothers will risk life and limb to bring me back to safety. If I go into any American hospital, I know that the doctors have vowed to give the “utmost respect for human life from its beginning.” I know that a doctor is supposed to attend me because of their oath. How many times have we heard in plays and movies, “Is there a doctor in the house?” Their oath is their responsibility. Each of these examples are just protocols calling our fellow men to rise higher than base self-preservation.
Thanks to the reporting of the media, we’ve seen gross abuses of these standards. Consider the disgraced captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner who abandoned his ship, leaving his crew and passengers to fend for themselves. Thirty-two people lost their lives as a result of his negligence, showboating and abandonment. His pleasure and wellbeing was just more important than the 3,229 passengers and 1,023 crewmembers under his charge. Now there’s the nurse, Kaci Hickox, who refused the “inconvenience” of being quarantined due to the chance that she’d been infected with Ebola. Sure she served in the West African Ebola crisis, but she refused to abide by a 21-day quarantine because she deemed it ridiculous. Instead of continuing to be a servant within a fearful U.S. populous, she flagrantly flounces her defiance before the whole world. Her happiness was just more important than the peace of mind of her country. These are just two of the more publicized examples; I wish they were isolated and uncommon.
So why am I bringing up these issues or situations? Because I believe they are symptomatic of a bigger issue – the love of most is growing cold. In the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Culturally we are seeing our values deteriorate and dissolve. Self-rule is becoming the law. Our standards of right and wrong are now being curbed by whether it suits us or not. Personal preference is the rule of conduct, which is a frightening gauge. If my happiness is the measuring stick for how I conduct myself, guess what—you lose. Actually, everyone loses but ME.
This is what the last days will look like. This is why they will be lawless; self will be the rule of conduct. The “I” will take predominance. And when my highest value is self, I will betray everything and everyone for the saving of myself.
I believe the acceleration of this narcissistic self-focus will be reactionary – this self-love will be contagious. The temptation will be to respond to the extreme selfishness by withdrawing and caring for only self. But let me be clear, the full blown narcissistic personality disorder as seen in the last days is choice, not reaction. It’s the enthroning of my will over His. The examples I shared are just the tip of the iceberg, yet these displays are slowly becoming normal rather than atypical. But how in the world can we expect anything less from the unsaved? And it’s going to be chilling when the churched respond in like manner.
In Friday’s post, I will share our Solution…