November 3, 2020

How To Handle The Influence Of An Ungodly Culture

Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.  Genesis 19:29

There comes a point at which God says, “Enough is enough!” and His hand metes out judgment.  You read about it in the book of Genesis when God sent two angels who came to Sodom, intent on delivering Lot and his family.  Sodom was corrupt to the core.  Today even the name of the city itself is a sad reminder of sexual depravity.

Against the backdrop of a pagan, immoral culture, Lot had tried to raise his family to know and serve God.  But how successful was he?  Not very.  His wife, not believing the severity of the angels’ instructions, ignored their warning and lost her life.  The two daughters, fearing the stigma of a child conceived through incest less than the possibility of being childless, got their father drunk and thus conceived by him.

God took Lot out of Sodom, but the cultural influence couldn’t so easily be removed.  OK, here we are today, downstream by hundreds of years, yet the battle between culture and righteous living is not much different.  How do you lessen the impact of pagan culture in the lives of your children, or the mentality of “everybody does it so if you want to succeed in business, you had better do it as well”?

So we play with illegal equipment, learn to punch the guy on the opposing team without being caught, make the payoff or bribe quietly, and take advantage of your neighbor’s wife hoping that your wife will not do the same thing with some other man.

How do we confront a pagan culture today?  The option of leaving Sodom isn’t really with us.  You can’t escape to the desert or an island somewhere.  But you can confront your culture.  The following questions will help you decide.

Issue #1: Is your concern simply cultural or biblical?  Once you decide to let the Bible be your guide, most of the guesswork is gone.  Hundreds of clear statements say, “This is right; this is wrong,” including most of the moral issues which are thought to be hazy today.

You must, of course, believe that God is a good God, not a killjoy wanting to keep you miserable.  When you are convinced that He knows how you can find happiness and fulfillment, walking in simple obedience eliminates most of the cultural ambiguity.  Jesus told the disciples, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15).

Going beyond what the Bible actually says are biblical principles such as those that affirm the sacredness of life, issues which, though not specifically addressed, are a matter of conscience.  But a broad knowledge of Scripture helps you make good decisions for you and your children.  At times, putting feet to your conscience is one of the best ways to handle some situations.

Issue #2: Ask, “How does this affect my family, my personal reputation, and the Lord whom I serve?”  Simply put, everything you do affects others, and though some things may be perfectly innocent in themselves, the long term effects on others must determine which side you come down on.

Issue #3: Ask, “Does my decision glorify God in its consequences?”  Frankly, there are some issues which are not necessarily right or wrong issues, yet if I lose my independence and become a servant to my culture, forget it.    You can do a right thing a wrong way.  Lot’s two daughters both had children by their own father, and their descendants, the Moabites and Ammonites, became long-term, bitter enemies of Israel.  Lot put some distance between himself and the culture of Sodom, but he did it too late.  The moral is obvious.                                    

Resource reading: Genesis 19:30-38