In the 1950s psychiatry and various other forms of therapy began to achieve genuine credibility in our nation.
In the 1950s psychiatry and various other forms of therapy began to achieve genuine credibility in our nation. Those who followed and employed the teachings of Sigmund Freud believed that when you did something wrong, you did not have to hold yourself responsible. It was somebody else’s fault.
Who was to blame for your problems? Your parents were! “I came from a dysfunctional home. My parents crippled me emotionally. They were too demanding! They set a terrible example for me. I am what I am because of them! Don’t hold me accountable!”
Next came the 1960s. Our nation was in turmoil caused by the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Sen. Robert Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King. Rioting was common in the streets of many of our nation’s largest cities, and a new kind of thinking was born. Those guilty of mischief were saying: “My problems are caused by society! Our world is a bad world. Rioting and looting and the burning of buildings were frequently in the news. People were burning their draft cards and our country’s flag. But individuals doing these things were not responsible. They were saying, “Don’t blame me!”
Following the 1960s came the 1970s — sometimes called “the Me Decade.” The 1970s featured the sexual revolution and the beginning of the breakdown of the traditional family. It was both easy and popular to say, “I’ve got my own life to live! Don’t try to lay a guilt trip on me” — and, “If it feels good, do it!” In other words, “I’m OK; you’re OK.” In fact, that was the title of a very popular counseling book at the time.
In the last 30 or 40 years a new concept with regard to personal accountability has been on the throne: “victimhood.” If your house was robbed, you should have had a burglar alarm system. If you were raped, the rapist said it was your fault because you wore clothes that indicated you were asking to be molested. If your car was stolen it was because you parked it in the wrong place, or you left the keys in the ignition. Criminals don’t blame their parents, or society, or themselves. They are victims.
What is missing in these pictures? No one is willing to say, “I am wrong! I have sinned! My problems are my fault! I am responsible!” Shifting the blame has been going on since the beginning of time. Adam blamed Eve for disobeying God, and Eve blamed the serpent. They were not willing to repent.
Repent is a very important word. The syllable “Re” in front of a word means: “to return.” “Re-pent” means: “to go back.” “Pent” is a word meaning “the highest position,” such as a “penthouse.” Thus, the word “repent” means “to go back to the place of highest position.”
The place of highest position for Adam and Eve was their status in the Garden of Eden when they walked together with God. That was before sin destroyed their relationship, and God and mankind were separated. God does not ask us to repent of our sins because He wants to make us feel bad about ourselves, or because He wants to embarrass us. It is because He wants to restore our lost relationship with Him.
Repentance is a word you will not hear used very often by those who stand in today’s pulpits to preach God’s Word. This is a tragedy, for no one – literally no one – can have the benefits of God’s grace without yielding to what He requires of those who would become Christians. Repentance is the road that must be traveled in order to be saved – in other words, to have a restored relationship with God.
Could this be why churches do not have a greater impact upon our culture? Think about it.