The world has a surfeit of wicked people. One does not have to look far to find a drunkard, a liar, a cheat, etc. Not only do they surround us on every hand, but the effects of their drinking, lying and cheating invade our privacy and affect our lives. It is well nigh impossible for anyone to escape the effects of wickedness in this world. As Paul said, "We must needs go out of the world" (1 Corinthians 5:9) to escape its pollution. Since we cannot leave this world, we must learn to live with sin and sinners as best we can, trying to convert them to Christ.
But my point is not that we have so much wickedness around us. Rather, I would like to emphasize the need for good people in the face of such wickedness. This need is so often overlooked and good people are so often discounted that we fail to appreciate their value. They are often taken for granted or simply tolerated as uninteresting. Perhaps those of us who are Christians do not appreciate the value of being good.
Jesus stated the value of goodness when He said, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid" (Matthew 5:13,14). We have enough of those Jesus called "good for nothing." The world needs the preserving and illuminating power of good people. Without them and without their influence, the world is miserable indeed. Let me illustrate.
I firmly believe the decline of the morals in our nation (as in our churches) can be directly connected to the decline of good mothers. The power of a good woman in the home, training and influencing the souls of young children, is inestimable. It cannot be weighed on a scale or calculated for a paycheck, but it is a treasure beyond telling. We have seen two whole generations now that have been reared without mothers and we are reaping the harvest. How badly we need good mothers in our homes.
If our mothers have left the homes to go into the market place, even so have our fathers abdicated their place of authority and responsibility in the homes. So many men are so intent on living the "good life" that they have forgotten how to be good men. Recreation has become a god in America. Men cannot be fathers because they have to be coaches, spectators, fishermen, hunters, sportsmen (participants or spectators). While it is true that good fathers can use all of these things in bringing up their children, it is usually the case that old Dad is more interested in having his own fun in these things instead of using them to train his children. We have been TV-trained to enjoy life ("since we only go round one time, let us do it with gusto") and many are going to enjoy life to the neglect of family or God or anyone else. Our families need a firm hand on the helm again and this should come from good fathers, men who are concerned with the welfare and love of wife and children and who are grown up enough to quit playing at being an overgrown boy and learn to be a man.
A lot of our couples are "playing house" instead of building a family. And all too many times, they are "playing house" with somebody else's mate! Adultery and illicit sex are altars in the religion of recreation. "If it feels good, do it." We need men and women who are dedicated to the godly principles of fidelity, honesty and faithfulness. We have enough (even in the church) of unfaithful, dishonest vow-breakers. These people care nothing for the sanctity of marriage nor the welfare of their family but, like animals, take their pleasure without restraint or shame. Friends, we have more than enough of "sleeping around," "wife swapping," "alternate life styles," "communal living," and such like. What we need is some good, old common decency and love in the home. We need some good men and women, desperately.
Once again, we have enough rebellious, delinquent, drinking, drug-using, ignorant punks in the world. You can find them in any school or in any neighborhood. They have a grudge against the world, venom in their minds and violence in their hands. Boys and girls alike who look only for immediate pleasure and sexual gratification. They are attempting to justify the sorry manner of life so typical of today's youth by blaming their preceding generation for its mistakes. No one in their right mind would justify the mistakes of any generation, but only a mindless drone would repeat the same mistakes and do a little worse for vengeance' sake. We don't need any more of this sort of thing. Instead, we need good boys and girls who will take the mistakes of the adults and do better... who will love instead of hate... build instead of destroy... heal instead of wound... look up instead of down.
The list could go on and on. But I hope the point is made adequately. We need people who will make the world a better place in which to live. People who will make the church better. People who will make the family and nation better. We see by the fruit of good and evil which is the best course to follow. But there are so many wicked people around us that it is easier to give in and join them than rise to a nobler plane. Which will it be for you? "Be not overcome with evil but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21).