G. K. Chesterton said this about decision making: “There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”
In our world, there seems to be one reason anything is removed, destroyed, or repurposed, and that is because it no longer has a meaning to our modern world. The idea that a statue of a Civil War general needs to be removed, is that he was fighting on the wrong side of the war. Yet, the war was real, it had real issues on both sides, and it all illustrates the history of that era. Removing the statue is ignoring the reasons the general and so many others fought in the war. Reminders of an era of history is not a bad thing, it gives us perspective on that part of our history. One thing is for sure, it is always wrong to rewrite history or try to ignore that it ever happened. Slavery was a horrible event in our history, yet that history now is there to help us realize that slavery of any kind is wrong and that it took a war to see it eradicated from our land, but it set into place a recognition of a wrong made right.
I am in no way excusing the horrors of slavery, but much like the Holocaust of World War II, it paved the way for the freedom of the Jews to have a nation of their own. Some would argue with this, but it took the horrors of the concentration camp, and the horrors of slavery. to make the human race aware of the capabilities of the cruelty in the human heart.
The Christian faith gives us the best explanation of these horrors, which far exceeds what psychology or sociology describes as the causes. When the Bible defines the theme of sin, it starts with narcissistic behavior, it is evil at its core, and it never acknowledges remorse for the results of its devastation. Sin is universal, and it has no specific target other than being human. Some define the horrible events in history as limited, concentrated to some cult leader, or a maniacal despot. Yet sin is in everyone, and the more we allow sin to rule our hearts, or the longer we allow sinful men to rule, the deeper and more persuasive it becomes to society.
Sin doesn’t just happen in pockets of evil, it gets stronger like a virus does when not treated or acknowledged. I may not see myself as an Adolf Hitler, but I am as evil as he was when I allow sin to rule my life. Lying, stealing, committing adultery, ignoring to do what is right … these all strengthen the pervasiveness of sin. You might say, well that isn’t as bad as killing six million Jews in gas chambers, and I would say, yes, the intensity of my sin was not as grievous as what Hitler did, but I contribute to the ability of sin to exist by my practicing it.
So, when we tear down fences that originally had been put up to protect a home, a family a property, there is a reason it was erected in the first place. When we think of some of the preachings of a former era against sin and sinful behavior, those were fences that were erected to protect people from the harmful aspects of sin. Today, we have lowered or removed many of those relational fences because they seem to no longer apply to a more ‘aware’ society. Yet, I have noticed that the fence of holiness has been taken down, and preaching on it seems to be too legalistic for the modern Christian mind. Yet, we see Christian marriages failing at the same rate as marriages without Christ. You have to ask what fence came down in that Christian marriage that created the reason to split the relationship. According to statistics published by Reddit, Christians are in no better place than non-Christians when it comes to premarital sex. “An even greater percentage of Christians have had premarital sex by age 22. On average between all tested denominations, 73.6% of females and 74.2% of males have had sex at least once (outside of marriage). It seems we took down a fence that was put up to protect the innocence of young people, and we have instilled no convictions in the heart toward sin.
Humans are sinful, I get that, yet if we read the Bible, we get a picture that sinful humans do have a choice to make so as to avoid the practice of sin, and that is Christ. The fences that are built in the Christian faith are:
· The Church
· The Bible
· The Holy Spirit
These fences should never come down because they are the first responders in a world out of control with damaging ideas and practices. Look at the fences in your life, have they been removed, or are in need of repair? I realize that fences are the restrictions most modern people want removed, but what was meant to be kept out, now has access to what was protected. G. K. Chesterton was right: "Do not remove a fence until you know why it was put up in the first place."
Proverbs 22:28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.
In other words, moral and spiritual boundaries do not change when it comes to God's will and His Word.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler