There are many ways in which frustrated people respond to the corrupted aspects of culture. Instead of turning to God, some rely on themselves or simply give into the temptation around them. We see five ungodly responses to the world’s cyclical problems in Habakkuk 2:2–5 (ESV):
And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end – it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith. Moreover, wine is a traitor, an arrogant man who is never at rest. His greed is as wide as Sheol; like death he has never enough. He gathers for himself all nations and collects as his own all peoples.”
Five Ungodly Responses to Evil
- I’m my own king.
These people are described in Habakkuk 2:2–5 as prideful since their “soul is puffed up” and they are “arrogant.” Are you a person who won’t submit to the culture or God’s Kingdom but has instead set up your life as your own little kingdom and yourself as your own little king?
- I’m my own savior.
Not trusting that God will protect or provide, these people seek to be their own savior and are constantly working frantically with stress and duress because they are never at rest. Are you a person who has more faith in yourself than in God? Have you set up your life in such a way that even if God does not come through, you will be fine because you can take care of yourself?
- I’m choosing culture over Kingdom.
There are always cultural compromisers, including those who have new interpretations of the Bible that allow them to tolerate and celebrate what God commands us to hate. These people are spoken of in Habakkuk 2:2–5. Such people, we are told, are crooked in their hearts and minds which are, “not upright.” Are you a person who has caved into the pressures of culture (including social media) so that you do not have to change your behavior or encourage anyone else to do the same?
- I’m avoiding reality.
Admittedly, the world often stinks and seems ready to be flushed down the drain. Anyone who pays attention to all of the human suffering and evil in the world will quickly find themselves overwhelmed, discouraged, and anxious to some degree. Nonetheless, the wrong response is to avoid reality and just keep self-medicating with everything from entertainment to food, sex, gambling, shopping, drugs, and alcohol. Are you avoiding reality and your social responsibility to help others?
- I’m going to benefit myself.
When foolishness overtakes wisdom, the opportunists find a way to profit from the pain of others. According to Habakkuk 2:2–5, these people are marked by “greed,” because this type of person “never has enough,” and so he or she constantly “gathers for himself.” Are you someone who is taking advantage of foolish, hurting, or vulnerable people who are easy prey for your gain at their pain?
For the believer, there is also a sixth and righteous path called faith that we will examine next.
Do any of these five wrong responses to a corrupt culture explain any aspect of your life? What changes need to be made?