By Kenneth D. Sits
A few weeks ago, the number one ladies tennis player of the world, Monica Seles, was stabbed while playing in a tennis tournament in Germany. During a break between games, an unknown man ran out on to the court and stabbed her between the shoulder blades. This criminal was wrestled to the ground while Monica moaned in the center of the court at the net. Fortunately, Miss Seles will physically recover from her stab wound.
Why was Monica Seles stabbed? Has she been involved in some outrageous crime worthy of death? No! Has she been on the fringe end of some political or religious group, making people violent from controversial viewpoints? No! Monica is quite reserved, seemingly as harmless as a fly. The man who stabbed her told the media why he did it. He stabbed Miss Seles because he wanted Steffi Graf, the number two ladies tennis player of the world from Germany, to once again be the number one player. Can you believe that! This man was willing to kill Miss Seles for Miss Graf to be number one again. He was willing to kill in order to have what he wanted. I am sure that every superstar in modern athletics has been checking his back-side since this incident has occurred.
Friends, these kinds of incidents continue to escalate around the world. Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-4, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (NKJV). When men turn their backs on God’s inspired Word and determine to live only for themselves, society deteriorates to the level of “every man out for himself.” When immorality runs unchecked, when standards are ignored, when “kill or be killed” is the motto of the day, death and destruction will always be the catastrophic result.
I have heard several people say, “Why has God given man all those laws? He must be a mean God, ordering people around like that!” Why you ask? To protect us from ourselves. Moses told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:24, “And the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is this day.” When man hates God and his laws of righteousness and morality, he often turns into a brutal, selfish, uncontrolled maniac who will have his way, regardless of who or what is standing in his way. What else could possibly explain the infamous L.A. riots last year? Over 50 people lost their lives because total selfishness and ungodliness was on parade.
When you consider that listing in 2 Timothy 3:1-4, you can find a lot of people who fit those wicked character descriptions. You don’t have to look very long to find many who live only to please their passions and pleasures. They have lost respect for authorities figures and reject the Bible as God’s word. Even within some churches of Christ, strife, contention and worldliness have become the order of the day. Paul told Timothy to turn away from such people (v. 5). The church of Christ must stand up against those who are filled with themselves, serving only them-selves. Jesus teaches us in Matthew 16:24, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me.” If people would follow after the King, society wouldn’t have to carry guns for self protection. It wouldn’t have prisons filled with rebellious, evil people. It wouldn’t have Monica Seles with a knife wound in her back.
That evening, most of the sportscasters that I saw seemed visibly shaken and unsettled by this incident. Steffi Graf went and saw Monica Seles in the hospital, obviously an emotional wreck over what happened. Many shake their heads and wonder what this world is coming to. Jesus has been trying to tell us for almost 2000 years. Isn’t it time that all of us take his words of heavenly wisdom to heart? Now is the time to examine ourselves in light of the wickedness revealed by Paul in 2 Timothy 3. How do we compare? It’s not too late to change with Jesus’ help.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 15, p. 11-12
August 5, 1993