Sunday, August 18 2019
Some time back I was traveling along a back road with my teenage grandson. It was a wooded area of some thousands of acres, a beautiful country scene, where I happen to spot some deer not far off the fence line. I told my grandson; hey look over there at all the deer, to which he looked and looked and just couldn’t see them. He asked me, how do you do that; you seem to see things I just don’t see? I must admit I do have a knack for that, but, in reality I am attuned to wildlife’s shapes and patterns of movement more than the average person having spent much time in the woods camping when I was younger. It is also true many creatures seem to blend in with their surroundings very well, that of course is no accident as their very survival depends on it.
In the case of the elephant he is not much attuned to camouflage, he’s huge, he’s obvious and that’s the nature of the beast. There was a phrase that came out back in the early 1950’s called; “Elephant in the Room”. The idea behind it was from what I read, it was like a metaphor for something so obvious that it was not, nor cannot be overlooked, but was. They chose to not recognize its glaring presence. This metaphor would forever reveal a process by which people, people groups, maybe cities and yes, even nations may do exactly the same thing, ignoring the obvious, even to their own detriment.
As I write this article our Country has just experienced three mass shootings in a little over a week. With over thirty souls perishing in the aftermath and scores more injured, many are asking; what in the world is going on? Many intelligent people are looking at this glaring problem and asking themselves; what can be done to stem this violence? I have read where one political side believes the answer lies in removing the weapons from the populace; as surely that will irradiate the problem for good. Of course this doesn’t take into account that weapons can be obtained from many under the counter establishments, cons, just about anywhere. If someone is so consumed with mass murder they will find a way seems obvious, remember the big truck in Paris. Whereas the other political side seems to believe we just need to be more vigilant in identifying people with corrupt minds and signs of instability, can’t argue with that. Many of the collective voices are saying we will not be a Nation based on hatred. That sounds good, but it’s already imbedded in our society/culture. Unless I’m wrong, people are still allowed to think what they want, just don’t let your personal ills and prejudices overflow into society. And where is this violence coming from? Much of it can be attributed to the violent images people see on a daily basis. I’m told the video games are one of the worst purveyors of violence imaginable; images of death and destruction are the normal in many of the games. And what age group is caught up in this, you guessed it, the same age as the shooters in the recent mass shootings. But this is not the elephant in the room by any means. Our beloved Country seems also to have a love affair with alcohol, and drugs and just about anything that can bring harm either to oneself or one another, as bad as this is, it is not the elephant either.
The last time I checked or watched the news, serious crime such as murder is against the Law. I’m quite sure, people that do such acts are aware of this, but seem to justify their acts anyway. The point is, the Law, written words with the authority to enforce such law, has no power in itself to change the heart of the person. The highways of any city has speed limits to safeguard all that travel these roads, but it’s just a number on a sign, the power to obey that law has to come from within. In order to stop this serious crime against the citizenry, people are demanding steps to be taken. Along with that thought, consider a movie that came out years ago called; “Minority Report”. If I remember the plot, crime had gotten to place where public outcry demanded action to be taken. The police department was able to monitor the population through mental telepathy (? two girls), that even thoughts of potential crime were enough to incriminate folks. Is that where we are headed, let’s hope not, but don’t think this isn’t a possibility with all the intelligence networks available in our day and time.
This takes us back to the question of what is the; “Elephant in the Room”? History has a way of revealing things past that may portend to events in the future. As the old saying goes; they that forget the past, are destined to repeat it. In a book written in 1738 by Bishop George Berkeley; Discourse Addressed to Magistrates and Men in Authority concerning morality in old England, early 1700’s. It was during this time people were not being exposed to the Gospel message as a result of governmental suppression, that moral decline had taken root. In order to stem the crime rate, severe punishment was meted out by the state, even capital punishment for the smallest of criminal acts, as children as young as ten years old were being hung along with adults. Interesting quote from Bishop seems to fit our day and time; the youth born and brought up in wicked times without any bias to good from early principal; or instilled opinion, when they grow ripe, must be monsters indeed. And it is to be feared that the age of monsters be not far off. In other words, where values are instilled in the youth as they grow up, values will be part of their life when they have grown up, or the opposite takes place. There was another occasion where depravation took its toll, as most would remember the book; Mutiny on the Bounty. There were nine mutineers plus native men and women islanders that went ashore on the Pitcairn Island in 1790. It wasn’t long before they discovered they could distill alcohol, resultant, it didn’t take long after that before they descended in moral depravity. Amazing how that stuff works, no one is excluded from its deadly grip once it has you. In just ten years, there remained only one the original mutineers, plus the women and children. It looks like that would be the end of the story, but, I just read where there was a surprise ending to the story from world famous author Jonathan Cahn. That takes us to our last part of what the Elephant is.
As I quoted the downward slide of Old England in the early 1700’s, there would be a turnaround. One would think the country itself provided the answer, could they not have come up with some type of draconian punishment that even the most hardened criminal would never dare to commit any crime, after all, was this not where the “iron maiden” came from? Here is what happened, in 1769 after many years of absolute decadence, God raised up the Wesley brothers, John and Charles, Protestant Pastors, Bible Teachers to rescue the perishing. They preached to and prayed for the masses, bringing them back from the depths of despair through the Gospel message, not man’s wisdom, but God’s Word. They set up a Sunday School System to teach the masses the Word of God. Did it work? History reveals crime almost disappeared; alcohol disappeared, if there had been drugs in that day and time they too would have vacated the scene. Yes, the magnetic power of evil had been broken, laws weren’t needed where people will voluntarily want to do what is right, are we listening? In the case of the mutineers, something most magnificent happened on that island as well. The last surviving mutineer was looking through the Bounty’s Treasure Chest, no there were no jewels and gems to be found, but there was a treasure that far exceeded all they had ever hoped to find. He found the old ship’s Bible; that had been stashed away all those years, and began to read it, share it; obey it. The Islanders were transformed, the distillery was destroyed, hope was instilled, and reverence for the Eternal God in whom we must all stand before one day was accepted by all.
The “metaphor” for the Elephant in our present time has to be the Presence and Person of God! We can talk forever on curbing violence, bad behavior, but it all starts in the heart of man. Until we recognize that only the Lord can fix the ills of the heart, it matters little how many laws one passes. Mankind without the Presence of God will not get better, we will only destroy ourselves. Ask yourself, have we adhered to God’s directives outlined in His Word, have we sought His help, or have we refused to admit He is even part of the equation? To the extent we have removed God, is to the extent we will allow the vacuum of an anti god spirit to control the hearts of men. Go ahead and say it; he’s right, but we don’t want the fix. God cannot be ignored forever. God has always demonstrated an open arms policy to all that come with a repentant heart. It’s time for a change of heart to fix this mess we are in.
Pastor Thomas Nosworthy
Light the Way Ministries.