Back in the early days of our history as a nation – days when it seems everyone was carrying guns, this kind of thing never happened except between cowboys and Indians. It wasn’t human decency then, and it is less so now.
My wife is a retired grade school teacher. She taught from the mid 60s until 2010 – almost 50 years. During that time she had an opportunity to observe up close and personal, the deterioration of the American family. By now dysfunctional parenting has become the norm. It’s hard to say what might have come first, dysfunctional relationships or dysfunctional families, but by now the problem on both counts has become epidemic!
Government continues to come to the rescue by subsidizing the dysfunction, and demeaning the historical normal. This now has us to the place where dysfunction has become an entitlement.
Let me say that one more time just to be sure I’ve made myself clear on the matter. We now live in a country that is enjoying or suffering, (depending on one’s point of view) entitled family dysfunction.
By now children are being raised by children who themselves were not parented. We are so far removed from functional parenting that there is no longer any plumb line against which to measure how a healthy life is built.
Family relationships, and almost all relationships, for that matter, have been taken over by the relative safety of hand held digital devices – less danger of rejection and attendant wounding. That might not have resulted in the present outbursts of maniacal atrocity, but it provided an excellent pathway to that end.
It isn’t rocket science to appreciate that children are always wanting to have better toys than the next door neighbor. Where hand held computer “games” are concerned there is no exception. “My latest version of kill the enemy has better graphics than yours.” (No need to bother touching on the present immorality on the sexual front, at least not in the present context.)
A passage of Scripture in connection with the effect of video games in combination with a lot of media support, and little or no parental oversight is”
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”
1 Timothy 4:1 & 2 – NIV
As I understand it a “seared” conscience is one that is no longer able to tell the different between right and wrong. The Love of Christ is always RIGHT – always TRUTH!
Enter the severely wounded child, who, no matter the source of wounding lives in a chronic identity crises. Their need for identity – recognition – validation becomes even greater than that which is normal in all of us. Depending on the depth of the wound, it can be a small step from cyber violence/atrocity to atrocity in real time and space.
“That should get their attention.”
“That should get me some recognition.”
“I’ll show them for not giving me the attention I deserve!”
By now this has become an entitlement. I’m entitled, whether I “built that,” or I destroyed that. At this point it looks like this is the majority outlook, which strongly suggest that it is beyond democratic remedy. It seems, but for the grace of God, we have nowhere to go but down from here.
It would take a miracle to go from holding things responsible to holding people responsible, beginning with marriage partners who appreciate the value of commitment and integrity, to parents who are willing to lay aside our own entitlements on the receiving end, and begin to become the supply side of things that properly belong to our children – things like love, commitment, discipline, training, teaching, guiding, etc.
There is a perspective in the Scripture on all of this that doesn’t hold out much hope for change. It is presented in two places, Romans 1, and 2 Timothy 3.
Romans 1 is more complete, but perhaps at this point in human history 2 Timothy is more to the point for present purposes:
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5 – NIV
It’s well worth reading the context in both passages.
P.S. As for me, I think, the last phrase in the quote above has to do with not taking them seriously, not validating them with our approval. That still leaves room for us to be God’s redemptive agents in their bankrupt lives. After all that’s the difference that Christ came to make.