“Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” Matthew 13:49-50
Not all that inspiring of a statement at first read, is it? But it should be inspiring in the way that it was intended. It was intended to put a certain “holy fear” in us as well as reassure us of God’s justice. This is inspiring, just not in the usual way we think of being inspired.
But sometimes we need a little holy fear of God and His justice in our lives. In our day and age sin is becoming continually more accepted and “normal.” Our worldwide culture seems to be growing steadily more secular. Immoral living of many types appears to be on the rise. As a result, it is easy for us to start seeing sin as normal and even acceptable. In fact, when we name sin as sin, our world often calls us judgmental and hateful.
If you find yourself at times feeling pressured to give in to the immorality all around you and just “accept it,” then perhaps the passage above will inspire you to do just the opposite. The absolute truth is that Jesus has named some things as sin and committing those sins brings grave consequences.
It could be the very subtle cultural practice of turning the Lord’s Day (Sunday) into anything but a day of rest. Or it could be grave violations to the sanctity of married and family life through the redefinition of marriage. Each of us will certainly notice various ways in which we feel our faith is challenged and even attacked. If that’s you, then this Scripture is for you. Jesus is serious about sin and the consequences of sin. That should inspire us to not only live holy lives, but also to do all we can to assist those caught up in the disordered cultural tendencies to change their lives.
Reflect, today, on how strongly you are opposed to sin. Sin is evil and destructive. You must always love the person who commits sin, but you ought never offer support or approval for their actions that are contrary to the law of God. Standing strong in the face of cultural opposition is a great act of love and may free some, one day, from the “wailing and grinding of teeth” of which Jesus spoke.
Lord, where sin abounds grace abounds all the more. Your grace is so needed today in our world and in my life. Help me to stay strong in my opposition to evil and sin so as to be among those who are gathered into Your Kingdom. Give me courage to do all I can to help those on the path of destruction. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of the Day – Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor