Before reading this post, please read the rest of the series on the Habit of Moral Living. In part IV of the series, Willful Ignorance, I said that this time, we’d look at extreme examples of people whose actions indicate that God has abandoned them to defective thinking. They are disturbing to those of us who have anchored our morality to the biblical standard.
From ancient times: Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to my voice; wives of Lamech, pay attention to my words: I killed a man for wounding me, a boy for striking me; so Cain will be paid back seven times and Lamech seventy-seven times.” –Genesis 4:23-24
While we don’t know the context of these verses, it seems that Lamech–who was a descendant of Cain–is boasting about retribution visited upon someone who wronged him. He seems to further boast that anyone wronging him will receive eleven times the retribution that God had promised anyone killing Cain.
The Apostle Paul expands upon his essay about those with “defective thinking” in the book of Galatians. In chapter 5, he provides a list of behaviors produced by the selfish motives of the defective thinker.
The actions that are produced by selfish motives are obvious, since they include sexual immorality, moral corruption, doing whatever feels good, idolatry, drug use and casting spells, hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, competitive opposition, conflict, selfishness, group rivalry, jealousy, drunkenness, partying, and other things like that. I warn you as I have already warned you, that those who do these kinds of things won’t inherit God’s kingdom. –Galatians 5:19-21
From the headlines: Emanuel Boykins.
In November of 2010, Boykins was at a party in neighboring Douglas County. When too many unruly young people showed up, the parents of the young women hosting the party asked the young people to leave.
A fight broke out, and Boykins or one of his friends was apparently slapped by a young woman. With a twisted sense of chivalry, he stated that he “wouldn’t retaliate against a girl,” but would beat the next guy he saw. A few moments later, a young man by the name of Bobby Tillman walked up, heading to the party.
Bobby Tillman was so savagely beaten that he died of a lacerated heart. His heart was literally ripped open by a broken rib. There were so many witnesses to the attack, according to Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputies, that the witnesses were bussed to precincts for interviews. Witnesses stated that the attackers–led by Boykins, who threw the first punch–beat, kicked, and then stomped Tillman.
Reading about this in the newspaper, I immediately thought of Genesis 4:23: “I killed…a boy for striking me.” Boykins might have said it this way: “I killed…a boy for [someone else] striking me.” Hauntingly similar.
What makes young men capable of such savagery? No moral compass; or a morality that is so far removed from the moral code that God writes upon our hearts that it is considered no moral code at all. Emanuel Boykins plead guilty to the murder of Bobby Tillman. He awaits sentencing. His alleged accomplices await trial.
Bobby Tillman’s family mourns his death. “It’s a nightmare waking up every morning and my son is not here,” said his mother, Monique Rivarde. The stunned community wonders what went wrong. What happened, and how can we keep it from happening again? The Apostle Paul’s warnings ring down through the ages.
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. –John Adams, October 11, 1798
This country, which was founded on Biblical principles, now exhibits many of the characteristics Paul warns about. Our founders understood that removing the scriptural basis for our moral code would erode the moral code. This has not happened quickly but it has been a steady progression, as I have shared in each of the posts in this series.
We must pray for unbelievers, asking God to turn their minds to His word, and ultimately turn their hearts to Him.
[If] My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. –II Chronicles 7:14-15
We must pray for our leaders and legislators, so that our laws will not further undermine our nation’s scriptural moral foundation.
We must unashamedly act in support of our belief in Jesus Christ, both in civics, and in all aspects of life.
We must exhibit the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
-Steve keeps busy with five children and a job in information security. He also has a second job as principal of the Hodgepodge homeschool.