It makes for a great story line. The young ambitious straight out of college would be money maker with all the right credentials from all the right schools flossing all the right references, just lands his first job at the bottom of the food chain in an established and respected empire and suddenly finds himself in a jungle like environment where the sharpest claws climb the highest. He is in ‘the real world’ now and all of his years of hard work, studying and investing into his future amounts to street rules (albeit affluent streets). He takes a look around to see his sweet and kind contemporaries get marked as being stable and job secure nobodies; while the ruthless and sociopathic few ascend to great heights. Our newbie quickly realizes that he has a decision to make and fast. So he starts out innocently enough by passing on information to the right ears as he begins to gain credibility and before we know it, he is convincing himself each morning in front of his mirror that he is doing this for the greater good of the company as he prepares to spill all on a certain rival of his, up for the same promotion. From the playground to corporate headquarters, the art of telling on each other has been lingering in the wings our entire lives. But what do we do when we wake up one morning to find that our society as a whole has decided to adopt the telling of tattles from the wanton blood thirst of loudest voices and self empowered neophytes who have a laptop, a smart phone, multiple vices and not a clue in sight?
Matthew 24:10 (NASB)
“And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another.”
We should all be well versed in Matthew 24 by now (if we are reading these blogs at least) as we tend to include many verses from this chapter in many things that God inspires us to write and teach about. Why? Because Matthew 24 is talking about the world right now in 2020 and beyond, in which we are living. The importance in recognizing the things that are happening all around us and with alarming rates and speeds is not so much in order for us to expect it or try and guess who is going to be which character; it is so that we do not BECOME these characters. The characters are not the greatest - killers, misleaders, false prophets, haters, loveless and lawless ones. Yeah, it’s quite the lineup. What we tend to imagine while reading this specific chapter in Matthew are evil, crazy people who all of the sudden start coming out of nowhere and take over and start doing horrible things to God’s people; but if this is what we take away from these verses in chapter 24, we are in need of a slap in the face. See, most of these things are going to come from people we know, people we respect, people we thought had it all together, people who sound and look great and people we trust. How do we know this? To start with, Jesus makes it pretty clear in an exchange with His disciples in verses 1-2 of Matthew 24, “And Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He answered and said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”” Jesus begins this entire warning of Matthew 24 by speaking about the temple being torn down, in other words, He is separating the TRUTH from the LIES - He is cluing us into a little fact that there is only one TRUTH and everything else is and will be torn down. See, the temple represents the worst parts of the religious system hiding behind the flimsy fig leaves of our lives. As opposed to the TRUTH of the desired relationship that Jesus was presenting as the new Kingdom of God motif.
In 2014 a name that only a handful of friends, colleagues and family members knew upon first mention was Justine Sacco. To refresh everyone’s memory, this is the woman who Tweeted a scandalous joke about AIDS in a series of other less scandalous jokes about other disturbing things that she was thinking about or taking in while journeying to South Africa for a vacation. As we are all racking our memories to pin down the details of this specific story once again, let’s speed it along: she sent the Tweet to 170 people whom she mostly knew (only a few she didn’t know personally), she boarded a flight from London to South Africa and had zero reception or internet until she landed at the airport, meanwhile the Tweet was forwarded to just the right (or wrong) people who were enraged by her non-contextualized Tweet and who began a social tirade that gained the world’s attention, caused her employer to make the decision to fire her, and that motivated upset South Africans to travel to the airport in order to document the moment when she would find out that her entire life had been upended while she watched in flight entertainment. All of these things did happen and she became a shamed woman known for one moment when her warped sense of humor caused her to share her private thoughts with the world. And still we never learn. This story isn’t just about the satisfaction that many people get from watching someone else get punished (public hangings were all the rage at one time in our history books), it also isn’t only about the controlling hold that social media has over our souls in exchange for instant gratification and influence over the lives of others; this story, Justine’s story and countless others who have fallen prey to the tyranny of the online masses, is strongly about the tattle tale culture that runs the world these days and comes straight from the devil himself. Oh, the package is attractive isn’t it? That apple is just begging to be eaten, look how perfect this fruit is! Genesis 3:2-5 kicks off the human species by exposing the liar as he did a fine job of telling on God - see tattling isn’t about exposing someone or some thing, the heart of a tattle teller is all about challenging that which has been established.
Matthew 24:38-39 (NASB)
“For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.”
This is the quintessential sequence of events that we don’t want to have happen, right? We are just so caught up in our lives, doing what we do, living it to the fullest, following our bliss etc. that we are so unaware how anything could go or is about to go wrong. In case we haven’t noticed yet (as if 2020 wasn’t a large enough spotlight for us) we are in the mire. We are Pinocchio at the carnival. We are living in a time not too far off from Sodom and Gomorrah (if by far off, we actually mean way worse). We aren’t a nation divided, we are people who are clinging to a temple that is currently being torn down. The need for our church corporations to expose the failures of their one time selected officials, tells more about the corporation and those who will protect that brand at all costs (because those costs are high) than any amount of tattling (with discretion of course) that they have carefully crafted in an attempt to save face. Humans are going to do human things and therefore grace has it’s place. The old ways of handling the business of church is paling in comparison to God’s foretold ways of preparing us for the insanity of the ending of our days on the planet. If we can’t handle the humanity of people, what are we really doing representing the Kingdom of God who deals in nothing but us humans? And furthermore, this question needs to start being posed to those whom we have chosen to follow the leadership of from now on.
Um, WoW. Now for the good news with a wink and a smile.
James 1:2-4 (EXB)
“My brothers and sisters [ fellow believers], when you have many kinds of troubles [trials; testing], you should be full of joy [ consider it all/pure joy], because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience [perseverance; endurance]. [And] Let your patience [perseverance; endurance] show itself perfectly in what you do [have its full effect; finish its work]. Then you will be perfect and complete [mature and whole; or completely mature] and will have everything you need [ lack nothing].”
We have the ability to make the change, the shift and the most of that which is burning on the inside of each one of us. Not for the fame of it. Not for the status of it. Not for the networking of it. For the pure love of our Father, God. For all of us headed forward to the future things, here’s a hot tip: we are going to blow it when it counts, we are going to need help once in a while, we are going to feel uncomfortable in the process of shedding the LIES that have bound us, we are going to say the wrong things and even worse think even wronger things, we are going to be taken down a road that we don’t think we can go down, we are going to need to take hold of courage like never before, we are going to look crazy most of the time, we are going to trust God over all things, we are going to wait patiently as if it were our job, we are going to do all that we can to stand and then we are just going to stand, we are going to experience things that no other generation has experienced and most important of all we are NEVER going to do any of these things alone - God is truly with us and we will lack nothing as we endure to the end, if only we choose His Words over the spectacles exploding all around us.
Romans 8:28 (AMP)
“And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”
This isn’t the time for the insecurity of tattlers to be tolerated as they insist upon remaining in their immaturity and calling it a ‘new’ form of Christianity, lacking self control over the poison their tongues spew out in an attempt to cover their own nakedness. Not because it’s the right thing to do (even though it is) and not because we don’t want it coming back onto us (which it will) - but let’s choose not to participate in the consuming desires of the flesh and opt for the consuming fire of the only One who isn’t just a roadmap, but who is the ACTUAL WAY, TRUTH and LIFE. When everyone is looking for specifics that the Bible speaks of as the signs of the end of days, deception chooses a path that no one sees coming, a handsome path that makes sense and has logic to back it up and even looks a little bit like love as we call people out and convince ourselves that we did it to protect the “company.” Just as that young ambitious would be money maker, we all have a decision to make - are we sheep or goats?