Sooner or later, if a person — no matter how clever, tactful, or deceitful — talks enough, his or her true colors emerge. Some believe talk is cheap. In truth, it can be costly and revealing. Action always accompanies words, even if in the guise of inaction. And, what is true of individuals is true of nations. That is why I keep a folder marked “End Times.”
We recently observed human hoof-and-mouth disease, not to mention lawlessness, in Nevada cattleman Cliven Bundy’s battle with the federal government. April’s media darling, Bundy lost support in one New York Times’ interview last week when he stated his views on “the Negro” being “better off during slavery.” He then held forth with several verbal paragraphs that labeled him more interested in unbridled anarchy than righteous civil disobedience.
When newscasters, politicians, celebrities, and common folk deserted the Bundy camp, he apologized and claimed to be misunderstood. Too late — his Old West hero image is gone. Talk, talk, talk plus action — grazing his cattle on government land designated as fragile habitat — and inaction — not paying grazing fees and penalties for over 20 years — led to Bundy’s fall.
If we had to pick a buzzword for what nations say they want within and between themselves, it would be “peace.” Yet, it takes only a glance at global news to see that the biblical “wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6) is increasing along with the prophesied scoffers that “thus it has always been” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
Talk and actions must come together, not cancel each other out. Peace talks between the
Palestinian Authority and Israel just hit another wall. In seeking to link themselves with Hamas,
a U.S.-designated terrorist group that openly states its desire to annihilate Israel, the PA flaunts its own hypocrisy and ours — its gulping of millions of dollars of U.S. aid and our giving it.
When there is a history, whether of individuals or nations, of all talk and no action or counter-action, skepticism is prudent until trust is earned. That is the case with Iran and Russia. For years, Iran, a nation resembling radical Hamas, has not hid its goal of wiping Israel off the map. It agreed in November 2013 to convert its weapons-grade uranium into other forms and to allow U.N. inspection. It has until July to comply. Russia, engaged in expanding its borders forcefully, is now on the brink of taking Ukraine, prompting talk of “WWIII.” Economic sanctions have been leveled against both: Iran appears to be responding; Russia does not.
Watch and listen, not trust and leap, is a lesson all need to learn. It does not take much discernment to see the motives of some. In full view of the world, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un orchestrates systematic execution, torture, rape and mass starvation; Syria’s President Bashar Assad okays using poisonous chlorine gas on his people; South Sudan’s madmen massacred hundreds of civilians just last week.
Biblical history is a timeline, not a circle. God calls himself “Alpha” (beginning) and “Omega” (ending). The ceaseless talk of people and nations, its actions and inactions, points to the prophesied “End Times.” The meaningless existence of many ought not to deaden us to the last recorded words of Jesus Christ: “Surely, I come quickly” (Revelation 22:20).
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If we seek simple truth, we can find it together—side-by-side.
Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com.