Youth and Home - Part 1

Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Date: 01/01/1980 
The declining morality in our country continues to plunge to all-time lows. The Bible predicts that the time of the end will be marked by greater sin. One area of weakness is in the home front.
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I wonder if we can realize, friends, what kind of social and moral revolution has taken place in our country in the last few years. We look around and hardly think it possible that our country could have come down so low in its moral standards. Every phase of society seems to be saturated with dishonesty, immorality, pornography. It's a sickening sight, friends, it's almost reached the stomach-turning point, in fact. One of the great phenomenon of our time is the rapid rise of science and intellect and the sudden decline of real faith in religion. Materialism has swept over America like a storm. Millions of people have been weaned away from their faith in the Word of God and are now putting a blind faith in science and materialism.

What is the significance of these things, friends, and what is the effect of the terrible moral apostasy that has taken place in America? Who can say that God did not have a hand in the rise of this wonderful, free land of ours? This great democracy was founded by men who prayed, men who hazarded their lives to worship God in freedom. The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, were written by men who had faith in God, in His Word, in His law. This fresh, newborn nation stood for justice, morality and liberty. Even as late as World War I the spirit of America was not too far from its founding fathers. But what has happened now? Nowhere do we see more sickening evidence of Satan's program than we do in our own beloved America. Of course, we did not expect it to grow into some great paradise on earth. We did not expect any grand utopia of peace to suddenly appear. But, friends, we did not expect either that it could be degraded so quickly.

A text of Scripture which is very familiar to us is certainly being fulfilled today. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5 we read this: "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." We could spend an hour on each one of these 19 sins which mark the last hours of earth's history. The world is getting darker all the time, friends. The Bible says that evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. Religion apparently is flourishing, there's a great form of godliness, anyway. Churches are being built everywhere, membership is increasing; but friends, crime and violence are also increasing in almost the same proportion.

Yes, it reminds us of two small boys who had been brought in off the street, little urchins who were being treated to an anniversary dinner by a welfare group. They put their grimy little hands up on the clean cloth as they waited for the food to be served. One of them noticing the hands on the table cloth, turned to the other and said: "My hands are dirtier than yours." The other one said: "Ha, you're two years older'n me, though." So as the total of sin accumulates, the world seems to get grimier and darker under the influence of evil.

Notice that the prophecy says that men will be lovers of self, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, lovers of pleasures. I know these are often attached to juveniles, and perhaps there is a strong reason why it is that way. Parents ought to be concerned, friends, and society ought to be concerned about it, too. The problem is that parents have been too unconcerned all the way through. Too unconcerned when their children were small and when they could have been influencing them in the right way.

What do these youth gangs mean, anyway, roaming the streets of our great cities? Mugging, robbing, beating and killing sometimes. This condition of things frighten the very daylights out of us, friends. Women are no longer able to step out on the street safely in our great, large cities. Once upon a time it was safe to go walking in the park after dark, but not so anymore. These gangs of roving hoodlums and delinquents are liable to pounce on any person walking the streets at night.

Well, why has the condition developed? Where are the parents who should know where those children are? We cannot blame the youth entirely for the miserable state of things. Parents usually make the initial mistakes. Children are the sufferers under the modern scheme of things. Broken homes no doubt account for a great deal of it. Today, we are well acquainted with the fact that almost one in two marriages ends up in the divorce court. Homes have become empty places where mothers just come home in the evenings and the father sometimes. Children face an empty house much of the time. Mother has gone out to work and make a little more money instead of staying home to take care of her own children. Perfect strangers often are assigned the task of watching other people's children.

Friends, I know there are times when mothers are compelled to work for the livelihood of the family, but perhaps in the great majority of cases, it is pure selfishness which leads mothers to forsake their children, leaving them in the care of disinterested people. Yes, that is where children lose their sense of direction. That is the way young people develop into delinquents. The whole problem must be rolled right back where it belongs. It must be placed at the doorway of the parents.

Dr. Popeneau made a ten-year study at Harvard Law School into the factors in juvenile delinquency. It was discovered that five great factors are brought into this picture. Father's discipline, mother's discipline, father's affection, mother's affection and family cohesiveness; that is, doing things as a unit. In today's world of over permissive parents, it is almost an oddity to see a combination of love and discipline. Some parents do not even think it is possible to exercise love and discipline at the same time. But friends, it is possible. It must be done. There is no other combination which will succeed in the proper training of youth. I heard of a great lecturer who stated that he learned his greatest lessons of life at the knee of his devoted mother and over the knee of his determined father. Youth actually crave discipline and direction. They long for somebody to draw lines and tell them what's right and what's wrong. The problem is that they do not feel loved if they are not properly guided and counseled and even disciplined by their parents.

Judge Liebenitz, a senior judge of Brooklyn's highest criminal court determined to make a study of this problem, so many heart-breaking cases had been brought before him that he made an extended investigation into the subject of juvenile delinquency. He was determined to visit the country with the lowest rate of juvenile crime and try to find the factors which favored it. So he actually did visit Italy for a few months where juvenile crime was the lowest. Returning to this country, Judge Liebenitz wrote an article entitle Nine Words to Stop Juvenile Delinquency. It appeared in the Reader's Digest a few years ago, and some of you may have read it.

In Italy, Judge Liebenitz discovered that young people are taught to respect authority very early in life. The father takes a positive position of leadership in the home and children are conditioned to respect that authority and discipline. And so the solution as far as this great judge is concerned is to put father back at the head of the family, those are the nine words that will stop juvenile delinquency. Ah, many fathers are going to have to answer in the judgement for not assuming their proper responsibility. They have simply abdicated and left mother to do most of it, and mother often is not willing to do it. Mother herself is often out working and the children are simply neglected. That is why the teenage gangs are found on the streets of the large cities, friends.

Oh, we have made progress in a lot of things and in a lot of ways. We have learned to increase the life span, for example. A new-born white girl today has a better chance of living to the age of 60 than she had 50 years ago of living to the age of 5. There are more telephones in New York City than in all of Great Britain; more bathtubs than in all of Europe combined; and more gadgets and conveniences than you will find anywhere else in the entire world. But what a loss we have suffered along with the gain. We have suffered spiritually and morally, friends, even though we might have gained in technical know-how. Our world and our nation is in a great moral mess right now from which we can hardly hope to be extricated, at least not by human effort.

Yes, we have more church members than ever before. We have a form of religion that is wonderful to behold. And yet those same Christians who belong to those churches fill the theaters, the taverns, the race tracks, the places of sin and amusement. Yes, I say there is a reason for this vast scene of carnal immorality. Influences of our own making have molded the criminals and sex offenders of today. Our permissive materialism, friends, has woven a web into which our boys and girls have fallen, and we're reaping the whirlwind now. There was a time a few years ago when the line of modesty was held, at least by the women. But something has happened to even change that, and now women are beginning to act in very masculine ways. They are dressing like men, they're taking on some of the rough, crude mannish ways even. They are losing their femininity. That fine sense of modest, moral reserve has been generally broken down. What a world we are facing, friends! What is going to happen next we do not know.

Women are taking more part in crime, and they are taking less and less of motherly interest and concern for the children. Less and less time is being spent in the home. I think television is partly to blame. People are affected by what they see and hear all the time. Friends, the great tide of filth and corruption that seeps into the homes of millions of Americans through television is unbelievable. Borderline comedy, glamorized, glorified sin and sex, violence on every side. No wonder children go out and stab and kill after watching the thing enacted before their very eyes. And yet we look around for the reasons, we appoint committees to try to discover why these things are taking place. We don't have to look very far if we've got eyes to see and ears to hear. Children are learning these things right in their own homes. They see their own parents fighting first, and then they see violent battles taking place on the television, they see murder every day. Why should they think of it as being something serious and evil. It has become commonplace for them. Yes, the avenues of the soul have been opened up and the character has been affected by these things. When will America wake up?

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