We've all heard the saying, "You can't have your cake and eat it, too." This little phrase is familiar and a favorite among parents while rearing their small children. Kids want it all while giving up nothing. Opportunity cost is a foreign principle in their young minds. It is easy to see the flaw when the person is five and wants to have cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a lollipop for a snack. They are being unrealistic. They aren't thinking things through. They simply don't know what is best for them.
Unfortunately, this naive approach to desires and wants doesn't end with childhood - is plagues the adult population with a vengeance. Adults are just as guilty of wanting what they want, when they want it without thinking through the consequences, or admitting that the consequences even exist. It is the equivilant of feeding a child happy meals for every meal and expecting them to have the health of a farm fresh, balanced diet. You can't have both. You can't put in garbage and get back riches. You get what you put in.
When it comes to eating this principle seems simple enough. You get what you put in. But what about the rest of life? We are sucked into a culture and a society that is feeding on mental and moral trash yet we want a peaceful and prosperous world where love and kindness abound. Our TVs are spewing obscenities and moral degradation like it is no big deal. Sitcoms make sex into a pass time and partying with alcohol and drugs as just part of growing up. Our culture is defined by what is happening at home. When we are welcoming this depraved behavior into our living rooms, we are making it acceptable in the eyes of children and adults alike. The moral standard flies out the window when right vs. wrong becomes blurred on the TV screen.
And it isn't just on TV. Music is just as pervasive. The hot topic of popular music is either sex, alcohol, partying, hooking up or all of the above in one crazy night. And these are the lyrics that kids are singing, so many of them not even grasping the gravity of the words and their meaning. Yet the truth behind those words is permeating the innocent minds of a generation that is still being formed, molded and developed.
We are bombarded every day by these outside influences. If you walk into a store, drive your car, log onto the internet or turn on the TV you make yourself susceptible to the filth that has seeped into every corner of this culture. It feels unavoidable. It has taken over.
Still, we want the people in our society to be "good". This word has different meaning to different people. But it is safe to say that majority of people want a law abiding, kind, tolerant, accomplished society. We don't want violent outbursts, murder and fights in the street. We don't want drunken accidents and beer bottle lined streets. We want things to appear to be under control and all in order.
There is one major disconnect in this logic. We want the good things of this world while getting to "enjoy" (if you can call it that) the filth that we are offered. It simply doesn't add up. You get what you put into life. If you fill your mind with sex and partying through the TV it becomes acceptable behavior, or at least normal, in your mind's eye. If you listen to music supporting violence then chances are violent behavior will become dulled on your moral radar.
You cannot fill yourself with darkness and expect light to pour out.
You cannot ingest poison and expect a healthy, vibrant body.
You get out of life what you put into it.
Our society would like you to believe that you can ingest all the rotten sludge it has to offer and still reap love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It is just not so. If you put in sin, violence, perversion, lies and disobedience then that is precisely what you will reap.
But, if you sow the characteristics of Christ and the principles of upright, moral, Godly living then that, too, is what you will sow. This basic principle is simple. It is addition and subtraction in school. It is the ABC's in kindergarten. It is so fundamental that the need to spell it out is almost silly. Unfortunately, it does need to be spelled out. It needs to be shouted from a mountain. Our society has slipped away from the upright and righteous living that was once the common standard. Now there is no standard. Moral relativity abounds and right/wrong is a matter of opinion. There is no expectation for upright living. Every kind of behavior has become acceptable. What kind of world can we expect when this is the new standard?
How can we expect good results when we are feeding off of the equivalent of moral trash?
The short answer: we can't.