“In Time Present, Loneliness Seems to Be the Aspiration of Depressingly Large Numbers of Americans. You Wonder Whether We Are Becoming A Race That Is Simply Afraid of People, or Whether We Are Finding Such Joy in Self-love That It Can Only Be Spoiled by Human Contact.”
This quite accurate analysis of the current moral agony was recently served up by Russell Baker of the New York Times News Syndicate. Often the men of this world, bearing the growing burden of their weaknesses and limitations, do possess that measure of discernment which gathers the tracings of those moral fault-lines which tremble across the layers of society. Of course, they who are in Christ bear the deeper reflection, for they possess that higher accuracy which cometh alone of the Scriptures. All measures but trace back to the basic of sin’s entrance upon these scenes. The criterion of correctness at this point turns to the declarative of Romans 5:12; “entered” into these scenes … “eiserchomai” bearing the primary thought of “penetration” in the sense of a continuing process, having particular pressures for each time and clime. Sin verily hath its fashions too well suited to the tempre of the particular times. With our present period of science and technology it has, if anything, become more “educated.”
Mr. Baker, in his quotation, marks reference to “loneliness” for “time present.” One can hardly fail to detect telltale evidences of the plight in the activities of modern man. Not alone is this “loneliness” the explanation of the vaunted self-love which enswaths modern man as a choking cocoon. Scripture too, testifies to the modern ego-trip as marking one of the characteristics of these latter times. The Spirit penetrates the fabric of end-time society and establishes the basic mark that, “men shall be lovers of their own selves” (2 Timothy 3:1). Self-lovers, or as the original conveys the thought, “lovers of their very own selves.” Modern man caresses his personal trinity composed of, “Me Myself and I.” Mr. Baker, and countless scores of his contemporaries, could hardly fail to take note of this ego-exercise in the conduct of modern affairs.
But the basic problem of “loneliness” strikes the deeper level. Mr. Baker’s fellow scribes sense the underlying nature in their own turn of expressions. Mencken, “the sage of Baltimore,” remarked, “What the meaning of human life may be, I don’t know: I incline to suspect that it has none.” Cioran sighed the similar sentiment, “Since all life is futility, then the decision to exist must be the most irrational of all.” The key revelation lieth in the wording, “I Don’t Know … Futility.” They betray the moral narrowing, the hemming-in, the moral painting of one’s soul into a corner. Modern man is locked into the ultimate prison … himself, with the gnawing sense of guilt and frustration. Modern man is lost to himself, with naught of anchorage.
Here, as in other matters, the testimony of the Scriptures records the nature of rootage. Modern man flounders helplessly when he seeks solutions upon the exercise of exterior foibles. The interior, the issues of spiritual consequences, replaces foibles with finality. The testimony of the Spirit through the old-time prophet Isaiah measures the matter for the matrix of these modern manifestations. The basics ever are contained in the area of spiritual consequences. “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God” (Isaiah 59:2). “Separated” is “badal,” bearing the primary thought of “to divide.” Spiritual division is translated into terms of spiritual subtractions for man. The basic, initial separation, or “division” from God has been expressed into twofold spiritual mathematics
SOCIETAL — Man separated from his fellowman
SINGULAR — Man separated from himself
And this expression of the singular forms the basis of that which Mr. Baker refers to as “loneliness … the aspiration of depressingly large numbers of Americans.” But our nation stands not alone in this shadowed valley; loneliness knoweth naught of nationality. The sorrow, the guilt, the frustration verily paints modern man into the choking corner. Time but deepens the texture and decreases the seemingly clear space around him. Contrary to Mencken, there is meaning to every life, and the look to Calvary will secure that liberty from the lines of loneliness. The haunted hours can, by the exercise of faith, be transformed into havens of happiness. The “painting” has been removed by the “precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19), for the heart crying for deliverance in the personal expression of “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Mr. Baker’s “aspiration” finds its ultimate solution in regeneration.