I am a Christian pastor who wishes to bring glory to God in all that I do, and to help people through my writing to know Him better.
Treading on the Sacred
Have you ever asked the question: "Is there nothing sacred anymore?" For those unfamiliar with the word, it usually has a religious connotation. In its strictest sense, sacred means "That which is connected with God or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration." Here are some other possible meanings:
- Dedicated to or set apart for the worship of a deity.
- Worthy of religious veneration: the sacred teachings of Christ.
- Made or declared holy: sacred bread and wine.
- Dedicated or devoted exclusively to a single use, purpose, or person: sacred to the memory of her sister; a private office sacred to the President.
- Worthy of respect; venerable.
- Of or relating to religious objects, rites, or practices.
As our culture moves farther and farther from the Bible and the Judeo-Christian beliefs that formed it we see more and more people that treat sacred things with disrespect and a general lack of dignity. A society that forgets such things cannot long survive. Here are a few examples of our culture treading on the sacred and treating holy things with contempt.
I. Profaning Language
Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:29 "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." However, more and more people consider it all right to curse and swear. They may still bleep out some words on the airwaves but it is perfectly fine for someone to use God's name in vain.
The people of Israel, in biblical times, took the third commandment quite seriously to the point where they wouldn't even pronounce the covenant name for God: 'Yahweh.' While they may have taken things a bit too far, we have totally forgotten this commandment in the times in which we live. Most don't venerate God's name at all. I challenge you, the next time you watch a television program to count how many times you hear such words as "Oh my God", or "Jesus" or "I swear to God" as expletives, for instance. God has said that He will not hold them faultless who use His name in vain.
Also, many of us who are older remember when comedians were funny without using what is known as blue humor. That is humor with lots of sexual references and four-letter words. But you will search far and wide for a modern comedian who doesn't need his mouth washed out with soap. And the sad thing is that many make a good living off of this nasty, vile, poor excuse for comedy. Our culture accepts this because it is no different than how the average person on the street speaks. It is a sad testament to our society and how profane our nation has become.
II. Profaning Sex
Another area of profaning is that of sex. The writer of Hebrews said:
"Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers, God will judge." (Hebrews 13:4).
But our society doesn't take sex outside of marriage as seriously as God does. Rather, we celebrate it.
If you live in the city, chances are you have a garbage truck that comes and picks up your garbage each week. However, if the truck stops coming for a while, you'll quickly find out that the garbage will start to back up, cause a stench, and could lead to disease and sickness.
Let's say that the same garbage truck finally does pick up the trash from the entire neighborhood. Yet, instead of taking it to the dump where it belongs, the truck driver backs up to your house, opens the door and dumps it into your living room. You'd probably get angry, sue the company and demand that they clean up the mess. But the truth is we allow garbage to come into our homes and minds every single day of our lives. That is, it comes in through all of the media that we allow into our homes.
We are living in a profane society where the act of sex, is paraded for all to witness on the internet, in the movies, in magazines and in any other public way that one can think of projecting it. And if you object, you're seen as a prude or old-fashioned. Rather than as a private sacred act between a husband and wife, given to us by a Holy God, it is done on the streets for all the world to see in many crude ways that are degrading to those involved, rather than edifying.
It is interesting that we will rate our movies and the vilest of content we call "adult entertainment." Apparently, it is all right to wallow around in an open sewer as long as you are an adult.
The television sensors are allowing, on our screens in prime time, that which used to be considered inappropriate for our children to see just a generation ago. And they continue to push the envelope with more and more graphic sex and nudity.
We can't stop our society from pushing the filth, but we can keep it from infiltrating our minds and those of our families.
Sexuality is a gift given to the human race by God. Kept within the boundaries that it was intended, it is a marvelous thing. However, outside the boundary of marriage, it becomes as repugnant and destructive as piling up garbage in your home. If you don't believe this, just look at how pedophilia and child sex trafficking, venereal disease and the break up of the family due to divorce has become a major problem in our country. We must bring back God's standards for sex, or we will go the way of Sodom and Gomorrah, which was destroyed by God for their sexual perversion.
III. Profaning Human Life
Human life itself has also been profaned or treated with disrespect. Humans beings are the only creatures that the Lord created who have been made in the image of the One who created them (Genesis 1:26). And in Genesis 9:6 the Lord told Noah that if anyone kills a person, he himself would be killed:
"For in the image of God has God made mankind."
Looking farther into Scripture we can read Psalm 139 where King David marvels at how the Lord formed him in the womb and says this:
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well!" (13-14).
Yet today we treat with contempt this crowning glory of God's creation. Abortion, on the one end of the life spectrum and the way we treat our elderly and disregard their wisdom on the other end shows us that we don't value human beings as having been created in the image of Almighty God.
Babies now have to be out of the birth canal to be considered a human. There is nothing sacred about the womb today. It is the most dangerous place for human life on this earth. And since Rowe Vs. Wade the number of abortions has reached 57,762,169. To compare, the Holocaust claimed the lives of 11 million people, including 6 million Jews.
Also, people are afraid to get old in this culture. Some cultures venerate their elders. Not here. We are living in a youth-oriented society. It is one in which people of a certain age, in order to feel good about themselves, have to do all sorts of cosmetic procedures. They feel that they have to cover up the inevitable changes that all of us go through if we are blessed enough to reach middle and old age. In a single year, Americans spent 11 billion dollars on plastic surgery alone.
In contrast, old age is seen as a blessing from God in Scripture. It is a reward for those who serve Him (Proverbs 16:31). And we are called to honor our fathers and mothers, not only in youth but their entire lives (Ephesians 6:2).
Maybe our concern for aging is somewhat validated by what we do with our elderly who can no longer take care of themselves. While it may be necessary, in some instances, for an elderly person to need care that a family cannot give them, there are too many times in our culture where wonderful men and women are abandoned by their families and placed out of the way in nursing homes.
Paul tells Timothy in I Timothy 5:8 that:
"If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."
Yet too many families neglect their responsibility to their elderly parents today and leave them in the care of strangers. Some older people don't get so much as a visit from someone in their family. What some have called the "golden years" are, for far too many, years where people feel lonely and no longer needed.
IV. Profaning in the Last Days
Of course, these things are not an exhaustive list of that which is going on in our society. There are many more. And they are not unexpected in Scripture. As a matter of fact, Paul predicted that these kinds of activities would be happening in the last days in which we now live. The last days are the times between the resurrection of Jesus and his return to this earth. Here is what the Apostle said in II Timothy 3:1-5.
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
Paul is solemnly warning Timothy that the society will be full of the profane. However, God's people must not participate. The sad thing is when Christians themselves are not salt and light in the world, but begin to mimic the society that we are put here for, in order to lead them to redemption. We have to "turn away" from all that would destroy the sacred and put the boundaries back that the world tries to destroy.
Staying True to God in an Evil Culture
Just like the Apostle Paul, we are ambassadors of Christ in a foreign land (II Corinthians 5:20). Our home is not this present evil world system in which we live. As ambassadors, we are the highest representatives of the supreme power of the universe. Let us not add to the destruction of the sacred that is taking place today. Instead, may we all vow to lead our culture back to the one true God and to worship Him by living holy lives, set apart for His glory.
It all begins in the mind. What we think about on a regular basis eventually ends up being acted out. That is why Paul in Ephesians 4:8,9
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think on these things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
Paul further teaches us in Romans 12:1,2 that we need to be living sacrifices and not allow the world to conform us to its mold. He commands:
"And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
The bottom line is that the more we fraternize with the world, the more profane we become. The more we expose ourselves to God, His people, and His Word, the more we will become like Jesus Christ.
Sadly, the world is full of those people who claim the name of Christ who are not much different than the world in which we live. Let us vow never to be like those persons. The God that we serve is more than worthy of us living a holy completely different life from those around us who don't know of His glory and greatness.
May we vow today, and the rest of our lives to stop profaning the sacred and live up to the position of holiness that we have been given as His children. As He is holy, let us be holy in all that we say and do. Then we will truly live a life that is worthwhile, both now and for all eternity!
© 2015 Jeff Shirley
Jeff Shirley (author) from Hesperia, Michigan on October 03, 2015:
Thanks Bill. You're right. We need a revival and we need it soon. My prayer is that it will come. Thanks for stopping by.
William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on October 03, 2015:
"It is the most dangerous place for human life on this earth." No one can argue that statement. Oh, they could and many probably try, but the truthfulness still shines through. We have profaned all that is sacred, and I believe God's judgment is not far off unless we repent. Thanks for putting together these thoughts. May we heed them.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 17, 2015:
GodTalk, I agree that we have lost our sensitivity toward God and godliness. Consequently we lose our respect for ourselves, for others and for everything sacred. Your article call us back to basic respect. Thank you.