By Leroy Brown
2 Timothy 3.1. In the year about 65 A.D. Paul the apostle wrote these words. “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:” At the time he was writing from a Roman jail cell. Paul describes in this chapter 19 different characteristics that were identifiable in the Roman culture of his day. It seems we have inherited many of these characteristics in modern-day America. “Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy; 3:2. I spend considerable time on the Internet reading the news of the day. As a parent and a grandparent, I am distressed when I read the accounts of siblings killing their own siblings over some minor infraction. Or when parents put a very young child out of the house in the evening because he or she would not eat what they were told. Fathers killing their own children because the child acted out and was disobedient is beyond all reason. This type of behavior does not seem to be normal human behavior. Something must really be out of focus to a parent who will destroy their own child. I raised two sons who were almost a constant aggravation. As they got older, I became less inclined to practice corporal punishment because I felt worse about it afterward than they did. So I tried to find ways to express disappointment and anger in less aggressive ways. Although we had numerous confrontations, I managed to make it through the high school years with most of my sanity. Now I’m proud to say both of my boys are fine young men, and both have raised two grown boys who are making fine young men. I can’t take credit for any of this but I’m so thankful they made it through the tough years and will make fine parents one day.
One factor that was a constant through the growing years was a strong Christian environment in the home. We had our differences on occasion, but the conclusion to most of them were agreements that the behavior was not acceptable. Notice Paul writes, “disobedience to parents “as one of the factors which
ceases away from the home. Such behavior is passed on to our hard working schoolteachers and educators. Unfortunately, they have less influence and restrictions than the parents. Just this past week I read where a teenage boy killed his two siblings because he did not like their behaviors. Not only did those parents lose the two children deceased, but they also will lose the remaining son to the penal system. Paul writes, “unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good.” These characteristics yield themselves to a destructive social lifestyle. Paul continues his writing by saying, “traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”
I am no longer in the circles where I witness a great deal of youth activity, and there are numerous examples of young people who are setting standards for their generation which are quite acceptable. But I often wonder if those who are acting out so openly are enlisting by default young people who have no solid ground upon which to stand and will follow the poor behavior that is so often evident in many of our sports leaders and movie stars.
The Bible is not silent about poor behavior. Warnings are frequently given to remind us that others are watching what we’re doing. Paul is now out of the main loop and facing in a short time his own mortality. But Paul is not alone in the Bible regarding poor behavior. The Psalms and Proverbs are filled with statements and warnings about such behavior. Paul wrote, “Be not deceived God is not mocked; whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.”