In the face of COV 19, I think we are seeing the best and worst aspects of humanity. Our NHS staff are self sacrificially working around the clock to save lives, neighbours are looking out for each other and setting up support groups. Though physically separated and isolated, this deadly virus is bringing people, organisations, churches and families together that have been divided long before Brexit and the Scottish Independence Referendum. Over the last number of weeks, we have seen lots of charity, whether it be offering free online music tuition for Kids, or dog walking assistance for the housebound. Here is an example of kindness I read on my local COV 19 support Facebook page:
“I would just like to say a huge thank you to a lady called Louise who very kindly paid for my shopping in Morrisons, Alness today as I had left my bank card at home!..These items were for my elderly parents who can’t get out!!”
In dark times like these, selfless acts (like the stars on a clear dark night) are shining out all the more clearly. I for one am so proud (for lack of a better word) of how my own church family have pulled together to support one another at this difficult time. Let’s face it though, self-centredness, egocentricity and selfishness are rampant! Whether it be toilet roll-gate, or those refusing to stick to guidelines on social distancing (potentially bringing death to many others).
WHY ARE WE SURPRISED?
Whilst faith, hope and love still remain in many peoples hearts, Politicians, news outlets and friends are simply flabbergasted at the selfish narcissistic attitude of so many in light of the outbreak. But I can’t’ help thinking…should we really be that surprised? Does society not reap what it sows? For years now our culture has been worshipping at the altar of self-actualisation, believing that self-fulfilment is the supreme goal of life. “Be true to yourself” has been the mantra of our age, The ideology of self-fulfilment has been continuously drip-fed through T.V social media, lobby groups Hollywood and even some churches. “Live your truth,” they say, Create your own meaning, don’t let anyone tell you who you are or how you should live. Surely you don’t need God to know what is good!” This self-absorbed, self-obsessed, self-oriented, self-centred way of thinking didn’t permeate the social fabric of collective thinking overnight. Lord Andrew Sacks has pointed out three successive waves of causation in his book Morality. The first was the social revolution of the 60s and its “whatever works for you attitude.” Second, the unbridled, economic revolution of the 1980s, when greed was good and self-interest fuelled the economy, and now the technological revolution, which has put the focus on the self through social media.
I remember reading once about a Scientist who said, “I have been working since the 70s to lobby governments and educational institutions about climate change, but I can’t do anything about the human heart, only God can fix that.” And thus, lies the problem. It’s not just Corona that is killing people it is the worldview promoted by individualistic secular humanism leading to a self-centred society where everyone does what seems right in their own eyes. When we create our own realities and moral frameworks, our hearts seek to do as they please, not what pleases God. Why should I self-Isolate when I would be more fulfilled hanging out with my friends? Why should I self-Isolate when I want to go to the pub. Why should I share a toilet roll when I would feel more secure with sixty of them? Why should another person’s wellbeing take president over my need to be fulfilled and reach my full potential?
“Take the fruit” Satan says, “God knows your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good from evil” in other words “don’t be true to God, be true to yourself, be like God.” No one tells a god what he or she can and cannot do, not the government, not society, not Asdas, and not even God himself.
The current crises is exposing the lies of the serpent. The absolute moral bankruptcy of individualism and secular humanism. Dictatorial Law enforcement may restrain people from spreading COV-19 but it cannot resolve the sin sickness of the self-oriented human heart which causes the spreading in the first place. How does a sin-sick nation with a humanistic worldview find a cure to its self-centeredness?
THE WAY OF JESUS
The government has been clear, stay at home and we will save many lives. So it seems that a big part of the answer is self-denial, self-sacrifice for the greater good. The way of Jesus is not selfishness nor egoism, but submission, self-denial, and self-sacrificial love, all the things that we know to be true, but run counter to the spirit of the age. How do we walk the way of Jesus given that we have a heart problem? We get a spiritual heart transplant! Jesus wasn’t just some moral teacher showing us how to live but he gives his life so that we might be born again into a living hope, with new hearts that bring about real love for God and neighbour. Not everyone who gets COV 19 will die from its symptoms, but sin sickness has a 100% mortality rate.(The wages of sin is Death) Which is why we don’t just need God to give us rules to follow, We need new hearts that are other centred. This is what Jesus promises to give to those who trust in him.
In the Bible Adam the first man represents old humanity, loved by God, but a creature of dust, self-serving, self-centred, He represents a “be true to yourself culture” But Jesus the second Adam, is creating new humanity around himself to inherit creation, whom rather than being true to themselves will be true to God. Sometimes I see the old Adam in me, but I know who the true King of Kings is and it’s not Corona (Corona means King in Spanish). Our culture for too long has taught be true to yourself, We are now seeing the fruits of this play out in self-centeredness, what we are will always reveal itself in a time of crises. Jesus Says – “Be true to God” There is hope for our nation and world, Love faith and Hope remain and they are found ultimately in the person of Jesus.