Disgusting. That’s the only word I can think of to describe the litter we’re seeing in the media this week. With lockdown beginning to ease people have been meeting in places like parks, eating, drinking, and leaving their litter behind. It’s quite awful to say the least.
Sadly, it’s nothing new to me. Despite valiant attempts to contain it, at the end of each lunchtime there would be litter all over the field in the school where I worked. You might imagine you know the type of child who would do this. Social profiling would lead you to assume it’s naughty children, or children from difficult homes. I’m afraid you’re wrong. It was everyone. Academically weak or strong, good or bad behaviour, strong parental support or none, they all left their litter behind. Despite having a number of bins around, and despite constant warnings, children would sit down on the field, eat their lunch, and just leave the litter where they were. It wouldn’t matter if there was a bin easily accessible.
This seems to be very much a British problem, although I’ve also seen it as bad on a trip to Dublin. There seems to be something about us that makes us feel free to drop our litter anywhere. What is it? Why don’t you see litter like this elsewhere? Well maybe you do, but nowhere where I’ve travelled. I suspect other countries do a much better job because they apply more severe penalties than Britain. I suspect without the penalties we might all be the same. Imagine that, wherever you go you’re faced with litter.
Our approach to litter is perhaps reflected in our attitude to life in general. We don’t care, some of us yes, but many no. We don’t care about our communities or our nation. We reject basic standards of right and wrong and do as we please. In a world that has rejected God, absolute truth and values, this is the end product, people doing what they like. It’s my life, I’ll do what I want and it’s none of your business. If I want to drop litter, I’ll drop litter, and we could carry on identifying so many harmful and dangerous practices that are now common place. We turn a blind eye to so much that is wrong.
The Bible describes a selfish world where nobody cares. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and said, “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” (1)
Isn’t that how the world is today, and doesn’t this explain our attitude to litter and the environment in general? God knew it would happen, it was inevitable once people decided they could live without him. They lost God’s foundation, his guidance, the stability he offers, his wisdom and understanding. We seem powerless to do anything to change the world or our selfish attitudes, but God will not leave his world in this state, and neither will he allow people to continually do what they want. One day he’s sending Jesus back to put it all right, to correct all our disasters and to judge us for what we’ve done, including our rejection of God. All will be judged unless, of course, they know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour, when they are assured that they will not face his final judgement.
Paul said that the situation we see above will take place in the last days. It looks like we are in the last days doesn’t it? That means there is a soon coming judgement, unless it can be avoided. Jesus died for you to save you from God’s judgement. He was punished for your sins and he is longing to spend eternity with you. Will you give your life to him? Will you take him as your Saviour and escape the judgement?
- 2 Timothy 3:1-4