Even as small children we are taught to respond to what has been determined to be right. As a result, we develop a certain sensitivity concerning whatever has been determined to be wrong. This discipline in regard to what is right and what is wrong trains us and gives us our moral inclination and our mental sensitivity or conscience. As we learn and develop toward maturity we formulate our own route of moral pursuit and begin to mold our own moral character.
The ideal character is one which has been trained to be affected–pained, actually, even annoyed–by sin. The Christian is taught to “avoid all forms of evil” (I Thessalonians 5:22), and the person who has developed the moral sensitivity he ought to have will not only respond to that enjoinder, but will actually come to “abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good” (Romans 12:9).
I greatly fear that far too many Christians are becoming desensitized to sin. The devil, realizing that when the Christian has his sensitiveness to sin lessened he is more apt to ignore it, has used several very effective methods to do away with the sentient conscience so needful for a strong moral character. I cite three for your consideration. Take careful note, if you please.
Pornography. By a process of slowly exposing us to more and more lascivious and lewd scenes in pictures, movies, writing, and the social media outlets, the devil has taken away what ought to be a sensitized repugnancy to such things. Even the billboards today are covered with what would have been considered base and vulgar even in the generation just past. There was a story on the news just this week about a group of well-known female stars who where lamenting the fact that their computers had been hacked so that scenes of their nude bodies were being ferried around the various social media. (Did anyone dare to wonder why they were taking nude pictures in the first place?) Reading materials, the contents of which have degenerated to the lowest possible depth of late, and which could only be seen in the most horrible places, is now not only available, but to some minds, routine. Where is our moral acuteness, our sense of moral acuity? Pornography comes gradually, but ends up clogging our minds and even making us think that sexual fantasies–with us as the star of the show–is nobody’s business. Sin is sin, folks, no matter if we choose to excuse it! (Read Matthew 5:28; I Corinthians 6:18; James 1:13-16)
Filthy language. I am afraid that our continual exposure to the gutter language spoken in the world today has served to desensitize us so that we are no longer repulsed by it. Some of our young people excuse their attendance at the baser and more gross movies by saying, “we just ignore the bad language.” That’s what bothers me. If we continue to ignore it, it will soon make no impression at all. And our toleration of it is only a step away from our outright acceptance of it. And, furthermore, our outright acceptance of it is just a step away from our use of it.
There is no way a Christian can escape from the use of bad language in today’s world–it’s everywhere–but he doesn’t have to like it, and he doesn’t have to ignore it. We could help considerably by making it known–both by example and speaking out–that we don’t like it. (Read James 3:2-10)
Lying. Lying has become commonplace in our society. It has even gained a certain degree of respectability in some business enterprises. Advertising is filled with obvious false claims; careers are often advanced by false claims. And “tell him I’m not here” when he is, is accepted as common in some business quarters. And what is the saddest of all is the way we are taught to lie to ourselves. We are taught to excuse ourselves. We are taught to think highly of our selves (I am certainly not against an ordinate amount of self-esteem, nor is such unscriptural); we are told to fill up and satisfy our own impulses so as to “feel good inside.”
Even religious leaders are de-sensitizing our sense of devotion to God in preference for a feel-good devotion to self. There was even a statement made by the wife of Joel Osteen recently to the effect that we don’t worship God to please Him, we worship to please ourselves, for God wants us to be happy. How sad to lie to ourselves that way! And one of the most subtle and oft-used lies is the common excuse. Excuses, given ostensibly to explain the facts in fact disguise the facts. If you have a reason, it’s a reason–an excuse, given as a reason, is just a lie, folks. (Read Romans 1:25; Colossians 3:9)
We best be careful that we don’t allow our sensitivities to be dulled. The devil’s subtleties don’t ever stop. Let us maintain a sense of vigilance, a careful alertness so that our sense of right and our moral suasion is not lost.