The recent scandals filling the news lately regarding sexual abuse and harassment committed by well-known and powerful men has been refreshing and heartening. Not because terrible things have been done or that careers and lives are being ruined, but because sin is being exposed and we are finding out that Americans can still be embarrassed and outraged over evil. For many years now, our society has seemingly embraced immorality, codified it into law, even held it up in honor. We were no longer red-faced and ashamed, we were outright proud.
Yet, here we are lately, and people are “shocked”, “outraged”, “incensed”, “furious”, etc. As a culture, we are uniting to decry this rampant evil plaguing us. Did this abuse only begin within the past few years? Has no one realized before now such things were happening?
The following was written by James W. Adams almost 20 years ago:
The frightening thing about the general state of morals in our time is not so much the increase of immoral practices, as bad as that is, but it is the almost total lack of shame on the part of those involved. The grossest of immoral acts are performed openly and without shame by the masses. A blush in our day is as rarely seen as a bustle or a hooped skirt. Public drinking of alcoholic beverages, immodest street wear approaching almost nudity, adulterous cohabitation, the production and sale of pornographic literature and movies, wanton and senseless destruction of public property, wholesale rebellion on the part of mere children against all forms of authority, and many other things as bad or worse are engaged in openly without embarrassment or apology. In fact, one is stigmatized as bigoted and intolerant if he is even mildly critical. (Christianity Magazine, vol. 16, No. 8, August 1999)
Sadly, our country’s present moral outrage is selective and severely limited. Indeed, the biting rebuke of Jeremiah’s words to ancient Judah are apropos to America today: “Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush” (Jer. 6:15; 8:12).
Abuse of women is not an isolated anomaly in society. We are a people immersed in wickedness along with a disregard and disdain for God and His word. Where is the “moral outrage” for the plethora of other evil and the dire consequences it brings? Oh, that’s right, we are “kinda proud of” those things. It’s not hard to see that as we have continued spiraling downward and away from God how sin builds upon itself. As we crack open the door of our lives to allow in one little peccadillo, all sorts of heinous sin barges right in behind it. Read Rom. 1:18-32—and weep for our society.
“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God…Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.” (Eph. 5:3-5, 11-12).