Look around. Watch the news. Listen to the radio. Scroll Facebook. You may conclude that things today are worse than ever before. That conclusion may turn into your cliched mantra that you put on repeat every time you encounter evil. But here’s my humble opinion. It needs to stop. To put it simply: no, things today are not worse than ever before.
But before I go on, I want to make this known: I get it. When you watch television, there are messages bombarding your household. Many of those messages contain the underlying assumption that sin is okay. In fact, sin has become normalized in our present culture. At least it seems that way. So yes, I understand the appeal to say “things today are worse than ever before,” but as we will see, we shouldn’t buy it.
No, Things Today Are Not Worse Than Ever Before
If you run in Christian circles, the cliched mantra that “things today are worse than ever before” is usually accompanied by some mention of Jesus’ return. Things today are not as they should be (they haven’t been since chapter 3 of the Good Book) and we desire, no we yearn, for deliverance.
But when we make the claim that everything has been progressively getting worse since whatever our arbitrary starting point is, we are revealing a couple dangerous things.
When the World Revolves Around Us
First, we are revealing how deeply our present day and age has wounded us, causing us to believe that we are the center of our own worlds. Instead of walking in the call to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds,” we have allowed the world to conform us into fear (Romans 12:2).
Being the center of the world isn’t boding well for us. We have ceased from exposing ourselves to the word of God. We have ceased from listening to others who have opinions different than our own. That’s why we grow so angry and so weary when we see someone sin in a way we don’t struggle with. That’s why we grow so appalled when someone has a different political position that we do.
What is wrong with them?! Ugh, things are so bad today.
When History Revolves Around Us
Second, we are revealing our ignorance of history and our silly subconscious belief that all of history revolves around us. Instead of even being aware of our short American history, let alone world history throughout the centuries, we have somehow looked at our present situation and have elevated it above historical events filled with real suffering.
When we say “things today are worse than before,” consider the implications of such a statement.
What does that say to African-Americans whose families are only a few generations removed from being owned as slaves? Do we really think what is happening in front of us, around us, and to us is worse than that? Come on now.
What does that say to those who lived in the first half of the 20th Century? They endured World War 1, the Great Depression, and World War 2. 60 million people lost their lives in World War 2 alone. Do we really think things today are worse than that?
What does that say to the children and grandchildren of the 110,000 Japanese-Americans who were incarcerated in internment camps during World War 2? Surely things today are worse than that. Yes?
What does that say to Jewish people all over the world whose family suffered losses through the Holocaust?
What does that say to African-Americans whose parents and grandparents had to fight for their Civil Rights in America?
Surely we get the idea…
What Jesus Said…
Jesus spoke the following words to the disciples after they asked Him what the signs of the end of the age will be:
4 Jesus replied to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many. 6 You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these events are the beginning of labor pains.
9 “Then they will hand you over to be persecuted, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name. 10 Then many will fall away, betray one another, and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. – Matthew 24:4-14, CSB
Wars and rumors of more.
Nation against nation.
Kingdom against kingdom.
We’ve seen this before, friend. In other words, look around. The signs are here and they have been here.
A Better Declaration
My plea to all of us is this: instead of saying things today are worse than before, let’s suffice it to say things today are not as they should be, but God still reigns. He is at work today, taking our brokenness and repairing it. And ultimately, He will take all the brokenness, all the pain, and, in an instant, wipe it all away.
In the meantime, let’s be the light and be the salt that Jesus told us we already are. Both magnifying Jesus and being Jesus’ hands and feet in this world that is passing away.