Vice is a monster of so frightful mein,
As to be hated needs, but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
(Alexander Pope, “An Essay on Man”)
Do you remember being deeply embarrassed by an explicit “love scene” in a movie? Do you remember when someone would say, “Hey, guys, none of that language please, there’s a lady with us”?
Of course these scenes are commonplace now.
An ancient prophet once bemoaned a similar situation. “They dress the wounds of my people as though they were not serious,” he cried. “‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush” (Jeremiah 8:11,12).
Perhaps we need to learn how to blush again. There is no question that society’s standards have fallen. And our culture expresses its lack of values with the subtlety of a steam roller, crushing in its path every contrary point of view. Under these circumstances it’s easy for the people of God to become confused about what is right and wrong. Yet we need to remember that there is a God to whom we are ultimately responsible.
“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now commands all people, everywhere, to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice” (Acts 17:30,31).
Legislation in this country might or might not reflect the will of God. Society might or might not be persuaded to live according to the laws of God. But two things are certain:
(1) God’s people must not confuse the standards of the world with the holy requirements of God.
(2) There is a day when Christ, who judges in the Supreme Court, will judge all men. He will judge them by the standard of his word (John 12:48).
All other criteria will be out of date on that day. The question is not whether the Lord will judge all people, but whether we will have become so accustomed to the standards of the world that we will have forgotten how to blush.
They do not even know how to blush.