George E. Darling, Sr.
Lamentations is a short book of but five chapters. It contains many practical lessons that could well be studied by Christians today. It contains a series of dirges by Jeremiah bewailing the afflictions of Israel and portrays the sad condition of God’s people.
In verse twelve of the first chapter is a question asked from a heart that overflowed with pain because the sins of the people had placed them into the hands of their enemy and the last remnant was about to be carried away into exile. Jeremiah was grieved to see flagrant disinterest of his people and asked them, “Is it Nothing to You?” A city once strong and prosperous, now desolate and unpopulated, those whom God once favored and gave them victory over the Canaanites, now a victim of the heathens. Is it Nothing of You? Can it be that you just don’t care! My beloved brethren, have we reached a point that we just don’t care?
The church of our Lord is today faced with some of the greatest problems it has faced in modern history. Preachers who are willing to contend for the faith and stand for the old paths are becoming more and more in the minority. The warnings are sounded 0ut, only for ears that are “dull of hearing.” The general attitude seems to be, “We just can’t be bothered; the problems of God’s people and the future of the Lord’s church is of no importance to me.” We cannot deny that worldliness has the strongest hold on Christians today than it has ever had. It is in control in the hearts of the majority. Things that were once frowned upon by society in general are now tolerated and condoned in many congregations. For instance, drinking was once confined to the “saloon crowd.” Respectable people would not patronize them. A member of the church could not be found with liquor on his breath. Today things have changed; we have been brainwashed into accepting the drunkard as an alcoholic that is in need of our patience, sympathy and understanding. He is fellowshipped and used in the services of the Lord; called upon to lead in prayer and to wait upon the table. If the preacher dares to condemn drinking, he runs into the argument that the Bible doesn’t condemn drinking, only drunkenness. It’s alright to drink, just so long as you don’t get drunk. My question is how drunk? Social drinks are served in the homes of professed Christians. I know of one preacher that was offered a drink; he refused and said, “No just give me a ginger ale and no one will know the difference.” For shame! A preacher with no backbone—but it was in the home of a deacon, and he didn’t want to create a fuss.
There was a time when dancing was condemned from the pulpit in no uncertain terms. Not only the pulpits of the church, but from denominational pulpits as well. Many a member of a denomination was “turned out” of his church for dancing. Some of the strongest sermons I have ever heard against the evils of the dance were preached by a sectarian preacher. Today the preacher that has enough courage and conviction to condemn dancing is considered as a “cranky old nut” that is not in tune with the times. Fathers and mothers who were not allowed to dance when they were under their parents actually encourage their children to dance. Some might try to discourage it but the children want to do what “everyone else is doing” so Mom and Pop give in. They are afraid their children will “quit the church” if they are not allowed to do as they please. Public opinion does not make an immoral thing clean, nor a clean thing immoral. Dancing is condemned in the scriptures. It is just as wrong to dance today as it was when Mom and Pop were growing up. It still breeds lasciviousness. The Christian doesn’t dance—period. The dancing foot and the praying knee is not found on the same limb. I have never known a strong Christian who danced or who allowed his children to dance. Is it Nothing to You?
The introduction of mechanical instruments of music into the worship of the church brought about division. For years its use has been severely condemned, and rightly so. Not only were thousands of souls lost because of this innovation, we also lost many buildings. Our ranks were greatly reduced but the Lord was with us. He saw us through and we made a tremendous comeback. Today we are faced with the same problem. Though the instrument has not been brought into the majority of the congregations, we do have those who are powerful advocates of our fellowshipping those who use the instrument. If a poll were taken in the average congregation of the Lord’s church today we would find a staggering number of members who would not oppose the instrument in our worship. Must we be brought into the bondage of the heathens again? Is it Nothing to You?
There was a time when divorce was rare, even among those of the world. A person could not be found in the church with two living companions with a fine toothed comb. Today it is hard to find a congregation that is not plagued with such people. The preacher who cries out against this sin and dares to preach the truth on the subject is in for a “skinning.” Sometimes by an elder who has a son or daughter in this predicament, or maybe even the elder himself.
The past few years I have heard so much about “fads.” When the women started wearing their dresses above the knee, I was to I told, run its course, etc.—Well, it has “It’s just a fad, it will pass away. It won’t do any good to preach against it. It will run its course alright!” Today you can hardly tell the difference between the dress of many church members and the costume of a burlesque stripper or a June Taylor dancer. Then comes the “fad” of the hippies with their long hair. “Don’t preach against it. It’s only a fad and will pass away,” I was told. The “fad” caught on! Today you can’t tell the difference between the men and women if you sit on the back pew in church, that is, until they stand up and even then you are in doubt. First it was condemned and then it was condoned. Well, brethren, we had a new fad that swept the country called Streaking —(you know, where they run around stark naked). Again I was told, “It is only a fad, like swallowing gold fish, panty raids or stuffing Volkswagens. It won’t do any good to preach against it.” Will we wait until a “Streaker streaks” down the aisle during the Lord’s Supper? It didn’t take us too long to accept the mini and the long hair fads. I can hear some saying, “Why preacher, the Bible condemns nakedness.” I know it does and I also know it condemns immodest dress and that it is a shame for a man to have long hair—we accept two out of three. Is it Nothing to You?
Well, what can we do about it? We can teach our children. We can teach our neighbor’s children. We can preach and teach the truth from the pulpit and in the classroom. It might cause us to have “fire in our bones” like Jeremiah (Lam. 1 :13) and we might get fired—period. We may “call on our lovers only to be deceived and find elders who have given up the ghost in the city” (Lam. 1:19) but God will see us through. Is it Nothing to You?