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Faith of Our Fathers—There is a Lesson for Us
We of the older generations do our children (and grandchildren) a great disservice by not recounting to them how things used to be.

We of the older generations do our children (and grandchildren) a great disservice by not recounting to them how things used to be.

We were a much more law-abiding society then …

Without such knowledge, they are almost bound to assume that the way life is today is the way it has always been and will probably continue to be.

How many of the present generation have any idea what society was like in our county two to three generations ago? In that epoch, our family lived in several different medium- to large-sized towns.

We were a much more law-abiding society then, the reason being that our forbears were God-fearing people who had been taught, and taught us, the moral principles of the Bible, the Ten Commandments, as well as the teachings of Jesus.

They also believed and taught us that we weren't free to just live as we pleased because we were ultimately accountable to a higher authority, i.e. God.

As a result there was less crime. We never locked the doors of our house, even when no one was in.

Later, when we had a car, we never locked it either, not at home nor downtown. Burglar alarms were unknown except in the bank and maybe the jewellery store.

By and large, children were taught to respect and obey their parents and to respect their elders, whether neighbours, teachers or the police.

If they were disciplined for bad behaviour at school they were quite likely to get an add-on when they got home.

Most families were complete—father, mother and children. Single mothers were almost unknown, unless they were widows. Divorce was rare. That was something that only happened in Hollywood.

Usually, the only businesses that were open on Sundays were restaurants and the local hotel.

Nobody complained about that because most everyone else had the day off. It was a family day. A lot of us also went to church and heard the Bible read taught and sung about. Our cities were safer to live in also. Our family lived for a year in Vancouver, then a city of 200,000 plus, and the streets there—with very few exceptions—were safe, even at night.

We kids walked five or six blocks to school every day with no concern. At 13 years of age, I would take the streetcar and go downtown alone without a care.

All the above is not to say that back then we lived in an ideal society. We were humans with all the faults and foibles common to the race. There was poverty, sickness and suffering. There were robberies and other crimes even murders (but not many). There was graft and corruption in government. But the scale of all these was so very much less than we see today.

However, to the extent that we were obedient to God's Word, we experienced the blessing of His promise, "Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord."

As our society has become more and more rebellious to God's moral commands, we have more and more become what the apostle Paul calls, "the slaves of sin," and lawlessness has multiplied. Oh yes, we live much easier lives today than we did years ago. In general, we are released from most backbreaking labour.

We are richer, better housed and clothed, have better health care, paid vacations, more conveniences, more leisure and more entertainment.

But, having lost our moral moorings, we also live with more criminals and more crime—with street racing, road rage, home invasions, kidnappings, street gangs and school shootings, with pornography, promiscuous sex and rampant STDs, with broken families and myriad "divorce orphans."

Add to these, corporate corruption and political scandals at levels unheard of in our history and then tell me—is life really better now than it was then?

This glimpse into how things used to be should teach us that obedience to the law of God and Jesus' teachings is worth the effort, since it gave us a more tranquil society, fuller safer lives and more stable families. Isn't it time we re-embraced the faith of our fathers?

More important still—putting our faith in Jesus as our Saviour will assure us of the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life. Will you?

Bert Warden is a retired missionary and former Christian & Missionary Alliance pastor.

Originally published in the Abbotsford Times, June 22, 2007.




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