Working to be better

I read a few interesting articles this morning. One was on the imminent retirement of the baby boomers and another on the imminent population crisis in China.

They were both related in that our populations are getting older and there aren’t enough young people to replace and take care of these older generations through government programs or pensions. As countries develop and infant mortality drops, people have fewer children because each child is more likely than not to reach adulthood.

China’s dilemma is a result of their strict population control measures – one child per family. People are starting to realize a disastrous unintended consequence of this. Since males are the preferred only child, there are LOTS of young men arriving at marrying age, but because of female infanticide, orphanage populations, and adopting out of country, there aren’t enough young women for them to marry. This will continue to devastate China’s population as not enough women mean even fewer children. This also makes life more dangerous for women as desperate men do what they feel they need to in order to obtain a wife, including kidnapping women from population centers and taking them to rural areas where their options are extremely limited.

These articles in conjunction with the viral abortion video (which I am intentionally not linking to) are a sad commentary on our values today.

We leave the government to take care of our elders instead of taking care of them ourselves. We terminate or abandon babies if they aren’t the correct gender or if they are inconvenient. The worst part is that as a culture, we don’t have a problem with this. We believe it’s our right as individuals to pass off our responsibilities to our families who took care of us or children that we create.

Yes, having kids (at any time) is inconvenient. Yes, care of your parents or your in-laws when they are older is inconvenient. How did we become so obsessed with convenience? We are all guilty, myself included. I am not perfect – just ask my husband or my mother in law. I can get a little bent out of shape when things are inconvenient for me and not be as gracious as I should be.

I see these bits of culture, and it’s so easy to say “things were better back when…” but I think the truth is that we as humans have never changed. We have always been this depraved. Some eras usher in more moral conduct than others, but there is always this underbelly of abhorrent behaviors. Some eras usher in the acceptance and normalization of abhorrent behaviors.

None of use are exempt, either. We are all, myself included, part of this abhorrent underbelly. Maybe I don’t do this or that behavior, but I think it. I think judgments and criticisms that I would NEVER say, but I might as well have said it. Thinking it and not saying it is only slightly better than saying it. It still shows the state of my selfish and prideful heart.

So how do I become different?

The only way to be different than culture is to value that which is completely opposite of popular culture. To believe in something that popular culture doesn’t.

As a Christian, I do believe things that are the opposite of popular culture. Unfortunately, I’m only human and a hypocrite. I believe things and value things but act the total opposite. I say something important but act as if it isn’t.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. 

Romans 7:14-25

We are all a work in progress. Thankfully I don’t have to be perfect, just working to be better.

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