"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy," (2 Timothy 3:1–2 ESV).
Whether it is the tear-stained plea of the wife begging her husband to relinquish his addiction, the profound sadness mirrored in the faces of the elderly as they contemplate America's moral degradation, or the overwhelming despair in our youth who confront a bleak future, it's hard to shake the sadness we feel over the sick spiritual condition of America.
It leaves many of us shaking our heads in disgust, wondering if things can truly change.
I Was Taught Not to Cry
My dad came from the farms of Oklahoma, where we were taught that crying was a sign of weakness. We were told that we must get angry to prevail in sports and that working hard makes us tough. Americans are bred to be tough. Granted, we must be tough as Christians (we need more fighters for the truth), but we also must season our words with grace and our actions with compassion. "We must weep before we whip" (Leonard Ravenhill).
It's clear that we've lost our heart of compassion. I often feel like the Apostle John when he said, "So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll" (Rev. 5:4). We, too, must learn to weep again. Obviously, the context is much different than what I described above, but the anguish John felt is universal among Christians as we ask: "Is there any hope?"
Great Men Weep
Our Achilles' heel is a lack of humility and compassion, and it has cost us dearly. A lack of compassion reveals a lack of the Spirit's operation in our lives. From Jesus to Jeremiah, great men weep.
Where is the weeping today? Where is the mourning for the spiritual condition of our nation? "Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, 'Spare Your people, O Lord'" (Joel 2:17). The heart cry of the intercessor is heard in the courts of heaven.
Excuses Must Die
Is anyone interceding for the unborn or those trapped in the vileness of sex trafficking? Is anyone pleading for the children being manipulated and misled by the lies of gender identity theory? Yes, there are a few, but it would be to God that more would rise up!
Could it be possible that your apathy is a manifestation of self-centeredness? Are you mean and unkind because you're arrogant? Either you're not saved, or you have so grieved the Spirit that the flame of compassion has nearly burned out. As a result, you may be spiritually blind and spiritually bankrupt. Excuses must die! You must own your hardness and repent. If you lack the love of Christ, you will quench His Spirit — period!
Weeping Opens the Door to Your Calling
I have yet to meet an arrogant, uncompassionate, unloving Spirit-filled believer. They don't exist. Yes, we all struggle with being hard, aloof, and uncompassionate from time to time, but we shouldn't live there continuously.
Weeping opens the door to your calling, tears can point you in God's direction, and mourning often leads to a movement. God lets things sink in, so we stand up — just ask Tim Ballard and Jim Caviezel. The movement they began with the movie, Sound of Freedom, is awakening many and exposing the darkness. Sadly, many on the Left are trying to protect the guilty while marginalizing the innocent. But this is no surprise — it's a spiritual battle, and they're on the wrong team.
To be clear: To wage this war against the enemy we face today, you must be broken, contrite, and humble. Your heart cry is your battle cry! From the sinner being converted to a saint being filled — it all begins with brokenness.
"I'm Just Not Emotional"
The excuse I hear the most, "I'm just not emotional," is simply that … an excuse. Get rid of it! You express anger really well. Is anger not an emotion? You get excited about lust. Is that not an emotion? If the problem is pride, then the solution is repentance.
A lack of weeping, intercession, and travail also severely hinders revival. Granted, we can't work revival up, but God can bring it down in response to the cries of His children. We are waiting for God, but could it be that He is waiting for us?
In Chaos, He is Still King
Don't let your past failures make you think you've caused irreparable damage. Don't lose heart; you will be amazed at what God will do with humility, brokenness, and repentance.
You may not be able to change your circumstances immediately, but God can reposition you back into the center of His will: "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Psalm 30:5). Take this opportunity now to turn to him, completely, unconditionally, and without delay. Even in this chaos, He is still the King!
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Petri Oeschger
Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California and the WCF Radio Network. More can be found at ShaneIdleman.com, including free downloads of his eBooks. Visit him on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to his new podcast, Idleman Unplugged. You can also follow Pastor Shane on the new free speech platform Parler.