Mopping the Floor While Leaving the Tap Open
With these words one could quite well characterize much of modern "wisdom." It is striking how many actions are undertaken and organizations set up to prevent bad things to happen. Let me mention a few things. One can read that boards of the public high schools vote in favour of condom machines in the school's bathroom. In this way the bad consequences of venereal diseases and AIDS, as well as unwanted pregnancies, can be prevented.
Then there are the cries of many women that they need more protection. The streets are not safe for them anymore, in particular when it is evening and dark. Those who come home from work in the evening live in constant fear that they may be assaulted. Other women complain about sexual harassment with words or hands in the place where they work. Therefore, something has to be done to make the workplace safer.
We can agree that something should be done to make the streets and the workplace safer and to prevent contracting AIDS or teenage pregnancies out of wedlock. It is terrible when women are harassed and assaulted. It is horrible when young girls are abducted and murdered after who knows what was done to them. Premarital, teenage intercourse causes so much trouble and pain. It shatters the basis for marriage. Something should be done! But what?
In the meantime, the movie industry, video producers, radio and television people, newspapers and book publishers, they all can continue to make money with their products in which free and often perverse sex and violence continue to pervert the minds of the readers and viewers. This is done in the name of human rights and freedom. Some time ago the television in Ontario paid most attention to a girl that wanted to go, and went, bare-breasted on the street. She called all the women in Ontario to follow her example some day in July. Some tried to heed her call. As for the workplace, there are women and girls who present themselves in tight, low-necked, and short dresses, attracting the attention of the other gender. Again, much of this is done in the name of freedom and human rights.
This does not mean that all the blame should come upon women and girls. The opposite is true. Not only are men often the designers of women's clothing; it is men in the first place who indulge in "unchaste acts, gestures, words, thoughts, desires, and whatever may entice us to unchastity" (Heidelberg Catechism L.D. 41). In his perverted mind, man dishonours the female gender, and therewith their Maker. Instead of controlling himself, he lets himself, that is, his mind go on its perverse trip, which then results in words and acts of sexual immorality against God and against a woman or girl. Here is the opposite of what Job said about himself:
I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I look upon a virgin.
There is therefore certainly reason for this protesting against male perversion and cruelty, for this crying for protection. However, this crying and protesting, this setting up actions and organizations, is mopping the floor while leaving the tap wide open.
It is the foolishness of humanism that has rejected and continues to reject the wisdom of God. This wisdom teaches us, first of all, that man without faith in the true God (in God the Father and our creation through Him, in Jesus Christ, His Son, and our redemption from sin through Him, and in God the Holy Spirit and the sanctification of our life through Him) is lost in his sinfulness and sin. Modern mankind does not want to know about sin and the call for repentance and conversion from sin. Modern men and women want to have and to allow the (devilish) "freedom" to sin. They want to have and allow all the things that can provoke to sin. Movies in theatres and on videos, and on television, books, magazines and papers, they all arouse the sex drive in the minds and bodies of many with dominating force. And so does the way in which sometimes girls and women dress.
Besides the refusal to listen to God's Word when it teaches about sin and the sinful nature of man, there is the refusal to live by what God, the Creator and Redeemer, has commanded in His Word as the proper way of conduct for man. This is the refusal to believe in Christ as the only Saviour both through His blood unto the forgiveness of sin, and through the Holy Spirit unto the renewal of life. Renewal is a return to the Word and wisdom of God, and so to a holy life in true love for Him and for the neighbour, a love that is rooted in obedience to all that God has revealed.
If we want to mop the floor and get all that dirty water out of the house we live in, let us begin with closing the tap through which we allow all the dirt to come in and defile everything.
This is the world. The church of the LORD is wiser because it lives by what God says. This is what one would expect. Is the church really wiser? Or must we say that the same often happens in the church? When we look in the church's history, or when we look around us in the present ecclesiastical world, the same thing is happening. People are mopping the floor of their church house, while they leave the tap wide open. Many a church complains about decrease in attention and membership. A great number of young people are leaving the church. It was proposed at some churches to set up a special youth committee with a full-time worker. But is another special committee the solution? Or is the solution a return to a firm and clear "Thus says the LORD" in the weekly preaching?
If we, in the church, as in the world, want to clean up and solve problems, the first thing we ought to do is closing the tap through which the dirty water enters our "house." Close the tap through which a worldly lifestyle in thinking and conduct enters. Close the tap through which doctrinal deviation from God's Word dominates and defiles the sphere. God said and says to His people: You shall put the evil out of your midst (e.g. Deuteronomy 13:5, 1 Corinthians 5:13). He does not say this to others only. We, too, have to take this to heart.
That which counts for the world and for the church, counts also for our own personal life and for our families. If we want to drive out evil, sinful conduct, let us close the taps which bring evil into our homes and minds and life. Hereby, let us not forget that as church and as church members, we are called to be the light of Christ for this dark world. We are to show this light of Christ as Saviour from sin in our good works, in our Christian, that is, biblical conduct, that has to accompany our message. God places this responsibility upon our shoulders. That our Western world is what it is today is for a large part the consequence of the unfaithfulness and apostasy of the churches during the last centuries. God wants to call the world to repentance and faith through the faithful church (cf. Revelations 11).