Ever attend a Political Convention? Ever listen in on a used-car salesman's pitch? Ever listen to builders, owners and architects haggle? Ever heard the method used in Real Estate sales? How much TRUTH did you hear? How much HONESTY? How much TRUST, FAITH, INTEGRITY? If this article sickens you — you may be better off than you think.
How many keys do you carry? Is your automobile locked? Is your home safe? Are your children home from school? What about shopping? Do you readily cash your personal checks where you are not known? What kind of identification must you carry? Ever notice how the clerk eyes you when you find you must pay for a cup of coffee with a large denomination bill? It's a suspicious world. And it's surprising how much of our time and concern is taken up over dishonest, cheating, lying, conniving hypocrites whose consciences seem seared, and whose principles have long since disappeared.
The Defensive Citizen
From the time when you first had your lunch stolen in elementary school, to the time your home was burglarized, you have had to learn the bitter lesson that this world is filled with crooks! Probably, you, too, indulged in it a little. Most people admit to having committed at least one act during their lives for which they could have been jailed. Did you merely steal your neighbor's fruit? Merely snitch a few marbles at the five and dime? Merely pilfer a couple of hubcaps, or "borrow" some tools from the boss, or use the stamps and stationery from the office? Probably you did so defensively. You found almost everyone seems out to cheat you, so you felt justified in a little cheating in return. You face income taxes, state taxes; duty on imported goods and local taxes; gasoline tax and tax on your cigarettes and beer (which are taxing your health). Arid, you're constantly bombarded by dozens of money-soliciting groups for everything from local, communal welfare projects to food for Vietnamese orphans. And you resent it. So what do you do about it? If you're like most people, you take the defensive posture of the double standard. You not only try to watch the other guy — but you even try to better him, if you can. How many TRULY honest people do you know? Your local butcher? Insurance salesman? Auto dealer? Tax consultant? Your neighbor? And what about your politicians and business leaders? Shockingly, studies coming to light in recent years prove that honesty is rapidly becoming a shopworn, tired slogan — seldom practiced — even though still talked about. So today you expect to be cheated. That's why you try to be careful of peddlers, con men, "bargains," and "sales prices" in your shopping choices. That's why you try to protect yourself wherever possible by checking labels, sizes, and manufacturers' guarantees. But in spite of all your precautions — you're still being cheated, stolen from, and possibly robbed and assaulted from time to time. After a while, it's only natural that social callousness are built to keep us comparatively unruffled in our societies of the double standard — imperturbable as we paw through our collection of licenses, identification, keys and insurance cards we must carry. You probably should EXPECT to be cheated — in our world. Look at what happened in New York recently. A young man whose father owned and operated a fish market and who, therefore, knew a great deal about fish, found a typical example of this in New York fish markets. He, together with inspectors of the city's Department of Markets, found tilefish being sold as more expensive red snapper; found fillets advertized as flounder were really cod; found examples of mislabeling almost everywhere. And not, mind you, in the small neighborhood stores, but in the largest and most highly respected chains of supermarkets in the city! Who were the culprits? They were the "respectable" businessmen who cheat, mislabel, steal, misrepresent and lie almost as if by habit. It's as if businesses use cheating as a POLICY on the premise that anything you can get away with is fair! And why do they cheat?
Businesses Expect to Be Cheated!
They cheat because they fully expect to be cheated! Every manager of every supermarket knows he can discount a fair percentage of his year's profits as shoplifting, pilferage, accidental or wanton destruction of perishables, damaged cans and bottles, stolen or "borrowed" shopping carts, or a chance of a once-in-a-while robbery! While the checker smiles as he rings up the totals, he's also wondering if you have any goods concealed in your clothing. When he asks for your credit number for that particular store before accepting your personal check, or demands a driver's license for identification — he's doing so because he has ended up holding a considerable number of bad checks — written by those who also live on the philosophy it's fair to cheat. Result? They feel the only possible way to "come out even" is to cheat a little.
The Government Expects to Be Cheated
What about the man who looks over your income tax return? First, he's suspicious. That's his job. He knows the reasoning of the average citizen concerning his income tax return. It runs something like this: "It's MY money, isn't it? I worked hard for it — so what's the matter with trying to hang on to a little more of it? I can see the need for taxes — but not for THAT much taxation!" So the average citizen stretches his report to the limit — hoping he's not among the many thousands whose returns are selected at random for routine "audits" each year. Yes, even the government expects to be cheated. Cheated out of FIVE BILLION DOLLARS EACH YEAR by false tax returns alone. But the government of the United States would be tremendously relieved if this were the only area in which it is cheated. During my naval service, I was in the Security Department on a naval air base. Our job was manifold. We had to watch the naval personnel and the civil-service employees, who would steal tools, parts, copper tubing, electrical wiring, and almost anything of value. Workers within a motor pool compound would drive their trucks near the fence, toss over certain pilfered objects, and then, under cover of darkness, attempt to retrieve the stolen objects. Tools came out the gates under hubcaps, under seats, in trunks, inside worker's tool boxes made to appear as their own, or taped under the hood. Every gate guard knew he could detect only a small portion of the goods actually stolen each year. The loss in dollars was monumental — typical of every military base on earth, whether employing civilian laborers or not! What kind of people were these? "Honest" laborers. Plumbers, carpenters, electricians, mechanics. They were clerks, secretaries, supervisory personnel. Example: The fire chief, a civilian employee, had held the office for many years. During my tour of duty, our civilian investigator (who used Navy time and equipment to figure the odds on the dog races) conducted an investigation. It was found the fire chief had padded his time cards for years — had been on vacation, but turned in cards for sick pay; left early; but turned in a card for overtime, ad infinitum. He maintained two separate bank accounts, and apparently, two separate women. Hearing of the impending action against him, he reacted immediately. I arrived, with others of the department, only minutes after his automobile had been found parked outside the base, with a hose from the exhaust taped to the window. He was dead — a suicide. Why did he misrepresent, cheat, steal? He had a good job. Security. A lot of friends — an environment that was of his own particular choosing. But he felt cheated. He felt he was underpaid, overtaxed, unappreciated, and exploited. So he felt justified in retaliating.
Attitude toward Crime
Most people remain absolutely opposed to crime, as such. But the private definitions of what constitutes a crime; whether or not the crime was justified because of the circumstances is becoming increasingly cloudy in the public mind. Law enforcement officials decry the near-obsession of the modern courts with insuring the protection of the CRIMINAL and his "rights," instead of strengthening the laws prohibiting and punishing criminal acts. Recently, a man brutally murdered his wife. After the crime, he became remorseful — went to the police and confessed. After signing at least two separate written confessions, including his leading police to the garbage dump where he had deposited the body of his wife, the man was held for trial. Today, he's walking the streets as a free man. The courts held his "rights" were violated when no legal counsel was provided to inform him, at the moment of his confession (which, by the way was voluntary, and not coercive) that such a confession was not necessary. The judge threw out the confession as evidence. Without it, there was no case. Merely a woman's body in a dump, with no physical evidence or clues as to her murderer. Is this true justice? And so it goes. The public obsession with protecting the rights of criminals has made it increasingly unclear who is handcuffing whom. However, it is not only the public attitude toward organized crime, toward the more flagrant or violent crimes that is alarming today — but the attitude toward what people consider allowable under certain conditions. The average citizen wouldn't invite to dinner, for instance, a burglar. But he would invite to dinner a man he knows has cheated on his income tax — perhaps even hoping to pick up a few tips on how to cheat on his own. So long as criminal acts wear respectable clothing, it seems, the public finds them acceptable. But the public is sick!
This hazy notion of the difference between what is right and what is wrong has resulted in almost complete public indifference to crime. Bystanders ignore shootings; turn away from women giving birth on a cold sidewalk; refuse aid to victims of automobile accidents; refuse to help officers in making an arrest; watch casually as a woman is raped. Look magazine's senior editor, Leonard Gross, wrote an article entitled, "WHO CARES?" in Look magazine. He told of 60 persons in Chicago who ignored a uniformed policeman's cries for help as he battled two youths. He called this growing obsession with "noninvolvement" a "new national horror"! Remember the pitiless case of Catherine Genovese? Her attacker returned to stab her three times as at least 38 neighbors heard, or looked on. None of them would help her, or even summon police. She died. The story gained nationwide prominence, and local newspapers began printing dozens of similar incidents. In Santa Clara, California, several motorists watched the robbery of a cabbie — none summoned police. In San Pedro, California, many motorists drove by two policemen struggling to prevent a man from jumping off a 185-foot bridge — trying to prevent him from committing suicide. In New York, a crowd of passersby on Broadway watched eight men stomp two — and did nothing. In the Bronx, a crowd would not rescue a naked girl from a rapist's attack as she repeatedly begged "Help me!" No one even offered a coat for her nakedness — they just looked. In New York, a gang member stabbed a college student. The student said, "I put my hand down and saw blood. I went over to a car that had stopped to watch. 'Please help me to a hospital,' I said. They rolled up their windows and drove away. I went to another car and asked for help, but they did the same thing, drove away. Then I went to a truck and asked the driver for help. He pulled around me and drove away and left me there. Nobody on the street helped me.' " In Las Vegas, Nevada, a Federal narcotics undercover agent was shot while sitting in his car in a residential neighborhood. Many people ran to their doors and peered into the darkness, but none investigated further. When questioned later, they told police they had been watching The Untouchables on television, and had wanted to see the end of the program without interruption. (The program features gangland killings, and federal undercover agents at work — but it's pure fiction) In Albany, New York, a crowd of boys chanted, "JUMP! JUMP! JUMP!" as a young man fought a life-and-death struggle within himself on a ledge of the top of an 11-story building. "Go ahead!" someone screamed at him. "I hope he jumps on this side," commented a well-dressed man, "we couldn't see him if he jumped over there." As relatives rushed to the scene, after firemen had unsuccessfully tried to coax the boy to safety, a man was heard to remark, "That kid isn't faking. I'll bet ten bucks he jumps." Another bystander immediately took the bet. By the time the boy's relatives had arrived, the crowd numbered over 3,000. A woman said, "I can't wait around all night, I just missed my favorite television show!" Finally, a relative dissuaded the boy, and he was pulled to safety. Cursing, the betting man said, "He cost me ten bucks!" "These people wanted him to jump," said a fireman, shaking his head in disbelief. "They really wanted to see him die." But these cases are only the merest beginning. Space would permit the printing of but a very few. Our News Bureau files are filled with reports of similar incidents, and, paradoxically enough, many of them on various of the national holidays. But why? What's wrong? Our people are sick!
It Was All Prophesied!
Our peoples have become a curse to themselves! We are literally committing world suicide — slowly, and by many and different means! Read II Timothy 3:1-5 again. God said, "... in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves..." What could be more shamefully and despicably illustrative of extreme and perverted SELF love than the public obsession with "I didn't want to be involved!"? It is MY television show, MY time, MY comforts, MY pleasures, MY concern, MY property, MY person that is important to the average person — not those of others. "... covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection," continues the blistering indictment against our glutted, doltish and rebellious societies! "... truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good..." How sickeningly and disgustingly accurate were these prophecies! The Apostle Paul was inspired to portray a vivid and blood-spattered caricature of our gruesome hates — our monstrous rebellion — our rotten morals. "Traitors, heady," he continues, "high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness [probably many of the same ones who left Kitty Genovese to the knife of her attacker attended their church within a few days] but DENYING THE POWER thereof; from such turn away"! (II Tim. 3:1-5) Yes, we're a world of cheats. A world of murderers, thieves, deviates, queers, pornographers, racists, bigots, liars, pretenders, alcoholics, dope addicts, pleasure-mad thrill-seekers and religious nuts. And we're a world of labelers. We love to wear labels. We label our canned goods and our churches; our sports teams and our community clubs; our marriages and our children. But we're cheating on our labeling, just as sure as the New York fish markets were. God says, "Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal [ever look up the origin of the rabbits at Easter, and the bulbs on your tree at Christmas?] and walk after other gods whom ye know not; and come and stand before me in this house, which IS CALLED BY MY NAME [falsely LABELED!] and say, 'We are delivered to do all these ABOMINATIONS?' " (Jer. 7:8-10) We are what we eat. Most people are overweight or underweight, and host within their flaccid bodies a whole host of strange little creatures which bring upon us our sicknesses and diseases. We're SICK physically. And, just as surely as your body is composed of what you feed it; so is your MIND, your ATTITUDE, your CHARACTER composed of what you think; how you play; what you read; what you hear; what you like to do; your pastimes, hobbies, pursuits, pleasures; your personal preferences. For most people, a continuing nightmare of pleasure seeking, weird movies, perverted sex, and heinous crime. We're feeding our minds on a ROTTEN diet of MENTAL POISON! And we're SICK MENTALLY! And we're SICK SPIRITUALLY! God charges, "Ah SINFUL nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters; they have forsaken the Eternal, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto ANGER, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken anymore? Ye will revolt more and more: the WHOLE HEAD IS SICK, and the whole heart [of our peoples, our nations!] faint. From the sole of the foot [lowest income groups, levels of society] even unto the head of it [to topmost government officials] there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises, and PUTRIFYING SORES..." (Isa. 1:4-6). Yes, our rotten national sores were PREDICTED! God said our natural and automatic punishment for choosing our OWN WAY, which seems so right and good to us, but ends in DEATH (Prov. 14:12) would be the exact present day conditions within our lands!
Even Our Children's Toys Are Sick
The Hutchinson, Kansas News published a picture showing a young girl — let's call her Penny — of that city, with, as the caption said, "a fiendish glint in her eye," operating an "educational toy for the future executioner." It was scaffolding, with blade, basket, and trip rope. You guessed it — a toy guillotine. The toy comes disassembled in a kit. All the child needs is a little patience and a little glue. Soon, like a model airplane project, the miniature guillotine takes shape. The kit comes complete with a tiny plastic doll, built like a man. The doll victim may then be tied hand and foot with yarn provided, which simulates rope, and placed on the platform. The blade is then raised by one string, and, when the basket has been placed beneath the victim's head, released. The head falls neatly into the basket. But it can be replaced, so the child can enjoy the spectacle again and again. Little Penny seemed to be really enjoying herself, in the picture. Open letter to Penny: "Dear Penny: "Was that your daddy you were pretending to decapitate on your new toy you got for Christmas? Or was it your teacher, your local policeman, or just a local neighborhood boy you don't like? "Or was it that you were just 'playing' and really hadn't thought of the doll as being any one person in particular? (Perhaps you're pretending that just anyone will do for your guillotine — and you can keep yourself impersonal and uninvolved that way?) "Penny, should you ever read this article and letter — we hope you become so sickened with the bestial atrocities you've been vicariously practicing that you will SMASH the toy, rescue the doll, and cry out for God's forgiveness for yourself and the calloused manufacturer who produced the toy, your thoughtless parents who purchased it for you, and the brutish society that tolerated the whole process."
What About YOU — Are YOU "Sick"?
How do you FEEL, after reading just a few of the more recent developments in our modern age? Are you passively interested? Incensed? Enraged? Filled with disgust, pity, and a longing for God's Kingdom to RULE this earth? Your reaction to what you have read in this article, and, for that matter, your DAY-BY-DAY reaction to the conditions around you is DETERMINING your spiritual condition! It's the way to determine your spiritual temperature. This world is NOT God's world. He isn't IN it. He is soon going to SMASH this present society, with all our cherished practices, our hates, cheating, lying, stealing, and adultery — yes, and even our FALSELY LABELED RELIGIONS! God says modern people are filled with blood-lust; they DELIGHT in iniquity, in SIN, in BLOOD, in TORMENT, in VIOLENCE. He's, going to give them the greatest show of violence ever displayed since the remotest beginnings of time! But with one great difference. EVERYONE WILL BE COMPLETELY INVOLVED! "Thou hast given them BLOOD TO DRINK; for they are WORTHY," cry the angels, in exultation at the righteousness of the great God in PLAGUING this earth to bring it to its knees! (Rev. 16:6) God said Lot, who "sighed and cried" because of the ABOMINATIONS accomplished around him, was worthy of escape from impending doom. And he left, as a perpetual warning, the terrible sign of Lot's wife, who, even though she KNEW the deep and perverted ROTTENNESS of her society, STILL LUSTED after it. Most people ARE spiritually calloused! They see the double standards, the atrocious misrepresentations and lies, the political chicanery, the brutal crimes all around them. But they seem RESIGNED to conditions. They see one horrible condition after another — and feel powerless to DO anything about them. So most just give up. They seem to say, "If you can't lick-'em, then join-'em," and begin compromising their own principles. Millions of people today are RESIGNED to this world's frightening conditions. They seem unable to be really STIRRED UP about the big issues! They are FAR more excited in a football game than they EVER are about some of the sickening wars, the continuing starvation and brutalization of hapless humans! It's a mark of our deep sickness that referee's whistles can inspire more indignation, more rage, more ANGER in us than the screams of war's victims. It's a diagnosis of our deep spiritual and moral sickness that most of us get FAR more excited about little day-to-day PERSONAL, SOCIAL issues; indulging in petty GOSSIP and backbiting, than we do about the crying needs of wretched humans the world over. Where are our TRUE humanitarian instincts? Buried under a sneer for our fellowman. They're submerged in our jealousies, our suspicions, our mistrust, and our resentment at our neighbor's actions. Still, many people try to convince themselves our societies are not sick! But it's time to QUIT KIDDING yourself! What about You? Do You lie — just a little? Cheat, just a little? Steal, just a little? Commit adultery — just a little? If you do — if you are one who lives by the unclear and hazy notion of the double standard, then you can choose between two alternatives! You can REPENT and COME OUT of this EVIL world (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 2:38; 3:19; Rev. 18:4), or you can continue in your own way of life, with your own opinions, and perish WITH this world. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that DOETH the WILL OF GOD abideth for ever" (I John 2:15). Admit to yourself the true conditions of our age! QUIT deceiving yourself into believing "things aren't really that bad!" Look into the spiritual mirror of God's Word — and let it reflect every rotten attitude, every evil deed, every deception, every resentment, rebellion and hostility in your mind and heart. Then REPENT! It's the ONLY way Of survival for you.