This week, I revisited the classic movie, “Niagara” (1953), starring Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, and Jean Peters. The setting is Niagara Falls.

The Marilyn Monroe character, for whatever reason, had married an average, somewhat boring man (Joseph Cotten). Well, as you might imagine, with all her beauty and energy, she was continually flirtatious with other men, leading to an affair with a man who was much more vibrant and attractive.

Without spoiling the movie, the boring husband, in attempting to escape the tragic situation that he had just created for himself, stole a boat – apparently to commit suicide by aiming it toward the cliff of the Falls. However, another tourist (Jean Peters) who took an interest in the troubled couple had followed him onto the boat to plead with him to turn back. On the way toward the deadly Falls, he manages to steer the boat toward a large rock where she was able to crawl out and cling to it until the Coast Guard arrived to rescue her. The boat is then pulled toward the Falls where the hopeless husband goes over the precipice to his death.

Unless one chooses to be in denial, it is obvious, even to the casual observer, that our society is headed at breakneck speed toward such a devastating precipice. The morality of our current society is broken. A book could be written (many already have been) to prove this is true, but I will mention only a few examples.

1. Crime is rampant.

One of our church members recently had a car stolen. If you do the research, you will see that over one million cars per year are stolen in the U.S. You will also find that California leads the way for car thefts. According to Yahoo Finance, California remains the state with the most vehicles stolen in 2023 (208,668). Another church member had not one, but two, catalytic converters stolen from the same car within a very short period of time.

Large box stores are permanently closing their doors where more merchandise is going out the door in theft than in transacted sales. Could this be because criminals know that they won’t be prosecuted as severely (or at all) in the state of California?

Jesus told us in Matthew 24:12 that in the end-times, “lawlessness shall abound.”

2. Our children are being robbed of any semblance of innocence.

The Wall Street (June 20, 2024) reported that Instagram (owned by Meta, AKA Facebook) is recommending sexual videos on accounts registered to 13-year-olds. We know that children much younger than that are being exposed to unthinkable content on the internet.

Last week, I was sitting in a restaurant with a friend, trying to enjoy dinner and conversation. The TV monitors in the restaurant were tuned to channel 5. Even if I tried my best to avoid watching the content, my peripheral vision would not allow me to escape the trash that was on display. Any children whom may have been in the restaurant would have to be blindfolded not to see it: actual nudity with only a sliver of covering on the most private parts of a woman.

I have also observed that passengers on planes now unabashedly have such inappropriate content playing on their video devices where others, including children, can see it as they walk up and down the aisle.

3. As predicted by Scripture, before the Lord’s return bold demonic activity is now increasing.

Movies and music are now replete with content that glorifies Satan and demons. And recently, one of our church members was in a coffee shop in Orange County, where in front of him was a man with a tee shirt emblazoned with the large block letters, “TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO WORSHIP SATAN.”

These are only a few examples of what I have observed recently with regard to the rapid decay of common decency in our society.

This shift in society to Godless secularism is evidenced by the fact that corporate worship has either been abandoned, reduced to entertainment, or stripped down to feel-good religiosity.

As Christians, what are we to do? I would like to quote from the “Life Application Study Bible” in its Introduction to the book of 2 Kings:

“Sparkling as it crashes against boulders along its banks, the river swiftly cascades toward the sea. The current grabs, pushes, and tugs at leaves and logs, carrying them along for the ride. Here and there a kayak or a canoe is spotted, going with the flow. Gravity pulls the water, and the river pulls the rest downward. Suddenly, a silver missile breaks the surface and darts the other direction, and then another appears. Oblivious to this swirling opposition, the shining salmon swim against the stream. They must go upstream, and nothing will stop them from reaching their destination. The current of society’s river is flowing fast and furious, pulling downward everything it can. It would be easy to flow with the current. But God calls us to swim against the flow. It will not be easy, and we may sometimes feel like we’re alone, but it will be the right thing to do.” (The Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition, Tyndale House Publishers, 2019.)

One of the things that caught my attention when watching the movie was just how calm the waters were when yet distant from the precipice of the Falls. But as the boat got closer and closer to that precipice, it became less and less controllable and the pull toward death became much more violent – until there was no more hope of turning it around.

I want to encourage you to be like the salmon who are smart enough to swim against the tide – against the suction of moral decay – that so many are allowing themselves to be “caught up” in. Instead, with the help of the same Holy Spirit of God who created salmon to be so able and determined, let us go in the opposite direction of this pull and head back to our destination who is God so that we may experience the best He has in store for us, and which the world can never provide!

In the “Niagara” movie, the woman who was on the boat was saved by exiting the boat to cling to the large rock. In our lives, this Rock is Jesus. If we cling to Him each day, we will be saved from the inevitable death that will come when those who “went with the flow” go over the precipice.

As the Life Application Study Bible pointed out, “It will not be easy, and we may sometimes feel like we are alone, but it will be the right thing to do.”

It’s not too late to turn yourself around and go against the current tide. The place to begin is by getting yourself back in the House of God on Sunday mornings.

With love for your soul,
Past Mark