In my last post I wrote about how the secular mind can no longer understand the difference between ‘forgiveness’ and ‘tolerance-acceptance-inclusion’. Things like this are not a surprise; in 1Corinthians 2:14, Paul informs us that
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
Forgiveness is one of these. Another one, in secular society, is the distinction between the four things usually rendered in modern English by the word ‘love’. [To refresh the reader: agape – charitable love, storge – familial affection, eros – sexual love, and philia – friendship based on a common interest outside yourselves.] It’s not that the secular society loses all the distinctions; they mostly still consider incest a monstrously evil thing, and incest involves taking eros into the territory of storge. What they absolutely cannot see is that if God is Love [agape] as 1st John says, that does not mean He is all four of these loves and that all four are not inherently meritorious, or for that matter evil. God is not storge, eros, or philia. These are good things that can turn evil, or be misused. The whole victory of same-sex marriage was founded on the popular belief that ‘love’, including eros, is inherently a Good Thing. And it’s not just eros that is the problem. Familial affection can lead us to selfish possessiveness of the thing we love if we are not careful. And friendship can lead us to follow bad causes.
Another distinction we are losing is that between finding fault with someone’s beliefs or habits and attacking or demeaning them personally. This may be reflected in some of the new definitions of ‘dignity’ that are coming out in our time. I have already written about this in a post entitled “Freedom From Speech.”
But Christians should not be too complacent about this. The “fruits of the spirit” of Galatians 5 are virtues, habits of the heart; it is easy for us to think of them as mellow moods, which they are not, or mistake our current mellow mood [I was around in the mid 70s when ‘mellow’ was a buzzword] for sanctification. Moods change; virtues remain fairly stable and change slowly. I would compare it to weather versus climate. When the Bible speaks of the ‘heart’ it is mainly talking about virtues and the decision-making center. I have written about this before.