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Once Upon A Time In America

Once upon a time in America, there was a way of life that seems so far removed from what we experience today. I find myself longing for those days that were much simpler.

America has changed so much over the years. Those of you old enough to remember what America was like before the internet, grew up in a much simpler time. We may not have had the number of luxuries that are so common to us today, but we found joy in the simple things and it just seems to me that people on the whole were generally happier and more fulfilled than they are today.

Today, we have so many things at our fingertips that are seemingly made to make our lives easier and better, yet people are more lonely, more disconnected, and more depressed than ever before. Suicide in the U.S. is up 34 percent since the year 2000. 40 million American adults have an anxiety disorder, and overdosing on drugs is now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. American society is clearly not heading in the right direction.

I remember back to my early days growing up on our farm in Kansas. I had plenty of time to walk the country road down to the bridge and walk out into the pasture and play cowboys and indians with my brothers. Even at the age of 9 there was plenty of work to be done feeding our steers and watering the pigs and feeding the chickens with our faithful dog Tippy by our side. When we got thirsty we would go and get a cool drink from the water hose.

Once upon a time in America people would sit out on their porches and talk with their neighbors because they actually knew who lived around them. I know that may sound strange to some people today, but it really is true.

What happened? What caused such a dramatic shift in our nation? The truth is, there are a lot of factors, but one that keeps coming up over and over again is social media. The following statements were made by people who posted about where we are in America today as they see it. One author recently said:

Social media made people cold, uncaring and combative. People have lost their connection to one another. They’ve lost the drive to socialize and have friends and form solid connections. Instead they opt to argue, fight and divide themselves. This has made society negative, bitter, and have no hope or joy for the future. You aren’t sad because you look into the past, you are sad because you are looking into the present and future and you realize the path humanity is currently on is a very bad one. A path that is very different than the path humanity was on not that long ago.”

Although technology can be used for great good, studies have shown that it isn’t healthy to spend too much time mentally immersed in that type of environment. Today, so many young people are online almost constantly, and as a result, they are developing all sorts of problems. Studies are proving that the iGeneration who spend so much time on smartphones and social media are dealing with high levels of depression and loneliness.

Of course technology is not the only cause to the societal breakdown we see all around us, but there is definitely a connection to it. What we regularly feed our minds will determine what we become. God's Word tells us, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." Matt. 12:34

Jesus's words in Luke 6:31 gives us some of the greatest wisdom that is still appropriate for our day, "Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Those words are commonly known as The Golden Rule. A little civility goes a long way.

One last thought… Much of what we are experiencing in our nation is because much of our society has drifted away from the God who formed us. The fear of God is no longer uppermost in our hearts.

In my Bible recently I read some great wisdom from the wisest man who ever lived…Solomon. He had this to say in his closing words in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

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