We must be different. Christianity is a life-style as well as a faith. Jesus's terse demands in the Sermon on the Mount, such as: 'Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.' 'If you are angry with a brother or sister ...or insult them...or call anybody a fool ...you will be bought to book.' 'Be perfect, there fore, even as your heavenly Father is perfect,' are not idealistic. Jesus expects them to be put into practice.
And finally we are to stand firm in our beliefs. At the start of his ministry, Jesus in the desert was tempted to compromise with evil. Fortunately for us he resisted. The temptation to compromise with what we know to be wrong; to take the easy way out, or simply to quietly acquiesce in the face of cruelty or immorality is ever present. Nowhere in the Bible are we promised that society will someday become universally good and all that is needed to bring that about is that all are sufficiently well-educated or sufficiently materially wealthy. Human society has always contained a mixture of the good and the bad and always will. Within this we are to be different and live as beacons of light in the world.
At one time I used to start the day by listening to Radio 4 or Radio 5 Live as I sipped a cup of tea and persuaded myself that it really was time that I drag myself out of bed. But gradually I realised that this was not a good start to the day. The news cycle would leave me feeling either angry or depressed or both - l now switch on Radio 3!
Losing our moral compass
It seems to me that as a nation we are rapidly losing our moral compass. There is nothing new under the sun, St Paul says of his own time: 'For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ... their God is the belly; and their glory is in their shame'. 'Their God is their belly;' what an apt description of our modern consumer society. 'Their glory is in their shame'...could this be de scribing the kind of society where the filming of beatings, murder and abuse is uploaded onto the internet every day?
What are we to do?
What are we to do in such a world? Firstly, it is in order to feel deeply troubled about it. Jesus did. He wept over the depraved state of Jerusalem in his day. If we do not find ourselves weeping at the evil so often manifest in our country, and in the world today, then we must ask ourselves if we have lost our moral sensitivity too.