Jesus once warned his disciples about the future destruction of Jerusalem: “When you see the disastrous abomination set up where it ought not to be, then those in Judea must escape to the mountains.”
Great social changes tend to take place slowly. Even the destruction of Jerusalem was a long, drawn-out affair that began with several attempts of the Jewish population to rid themselves of colonial rule, followed by years of siege by a Roman legion. The Romans finally broke through the city walls, reduced the Temple to dust and dispersed the Jews to the four winds.
Great social changes take place over a period of 20 or 30 years. As enormous as they are, they can pass unnoticed. They are introduced one bit here and another bit there. Three great changes in society have been introduced into daily life without anyone sounding an alarm.
Today’s sermon is less of an attempt to sound alarm, but more of an attempt to describe for the reader what you can do about a problem. Those three great changes are a flood of pornography, drugs and online betting. They tend to be highly addictive, both for the young and the not-so-young. They are addictive in two different ways.
The first is obvious. You start watching pornography, using drugs or betting online. After the initial thrill ends, you keep going back even though the thrill is gone and you know this activity is making you miserable. That is the very definition of addiction. You find it desperately difficult to stop even when you want to stop.
Making money from all the people who are addicted is itself a form of addiction. You don’t watch porn, use drugs or gamble, but you’re also trapped in the same cycle of destruction. Once you discover how easy it is to make piles of money by providing pornography, drugs or gambling, it’s difficult to walk away from it.
If you are one those suffering from addiction, turn to God and ask for help. If you have managed to keep your distance, remember two things: God wants us to help those who need help, and do what we can to turn the tide on this flood of pornography, drugs and gambling. How? Besides doing what you can personally, engage others who recognise how destructive addictions are. No matter how great the obstacles are initially, God will accompany you and show you the way.