“Without natural affection“–2 Tim. 3:3
Something terrible has happened! I know– you can think of a lot of things to put on that list, but I’m talking about something worse, something that probably causes the things on your list. I’m talking about the loss of natural affection. The older I get, the more things change, the more I am reminded of Paul’s statement. Of all the things he mentions this one seems to be on my mind the most. Perhaps because, to me, it is the most shocking. I can’t believe what has happened in just one generation. It is heart-breaking!
God created us as social beings in need of one another and with affection for our family. Even unsaved people have a natural affection for their own– at least they did. But, something has happened to change that–something terrible. We now live in a time when people are so focused on self-gratification that family means little or nothing to them. While this isn’t new ( think Roman Empire) it is worse than ever and getting worse. The lack of affection is so obvious that you can’t miss it. Abortion (1.6 million per year in America), the remedy for those who don’t want to be bothered by a baby, has become so commonplace that hardly anyone raises a protest anymore. So, if people do that to innocent babies, what makes you think they will actually love you? They have no natural affection.
Today, even within the so-called best families, we don’t see the closeness and tender affection we saw in earlier generations. What we see is people who are disengaged, disregarded, disrespected, etc. and pointing out the problem doesn’t seem to do any good—after all, how can you make people who don’t care start caring by telling them they don’t care? You can’t! So why do I even raise the issue? I do so because this is a big part of the problem. Things have become so bad that we’ve developed a “Why try?” attitude– after all, we would be happier doing something else. Right? Now do you see that we’ve become a big part of the problem? We prefer happiness to holiness and we don’t have time or affection for those who don’t aid us in the pursuit of it. We are so in love with ourselves that we have no time for those who might distract us from our goal of pleasing self–even if that person is mom or dad, grandpa or grandma. Our concern for them is conditioned on what we can get from them. So sad! However, regardless of how unlikely it is to help, we ought to keep trying. Although we can’t change the world we can awaken a few folks, and that’s better than nothing. The fact of the matter is that we have an obligation to denounce sin and declare the truth even if no one listens.
Even as I close this message, I feel that I have failed miserably in my effort to explain the seriousness of this sin. We keep wondering what has happened to the family institution when the answer is exactly as I have described. The failure of the family is due to the absence of affection, which is caused by our failure to love God as we should. Unless and until our love for God is renewed there is no hope that things will improve. Call it revival, a spiritual awakening, or whatever you please, it all boils down to the same thing, our love for others won’t improve until our love for God increases.