"Strangers are friends you haven't met yet."
I said that to a new friend who is moving into town last week and hearing myself made me stop and think. That may have been true when my children were young, and each time we moved to a new town and state I quoted that to my children.
But it's not a quote I would use to my grandchildren because the world has changed for the worse. And I feel a little guilty about using it to my friend because he has small children.
I grew up in a middling-sized college town in the South. When I was young I was free to roam a good-sized suburban neighborhood at will either on foot or on my bike. There was a war on but there were no murders in our town. The most famous murder in that day happened in Ohio and made the national news, it was such a rarity. I rode a bus downtown to go to movies or shopping and by the time I was in high school and had my driver's license I could pretty well go anywhere I wanted at just about any time (although it wasn't until I was in college that I stayed out at night).
Today not a single local evening news cycle goes by without a report of murder, drive by shootings, domestic homicide and gang killings. I don't dare smile at a child in the line at a supermarket for fear of terrorizing a youngster who has been warned not to talk to strangers.
That's what happens when a society turns away from God and the Ten Commandments. And it will get worse if we don't turn back soon, although in a world of home invasions and kidnappings it's hard to imagine things getting worse.
To you who deride Christianity I ask, "What is wrong with a world in which you treat others as you would have them treat you?" Isn't it enough that it's hard to live like that? But when you have the assurance and the faith that others are at least attempting to be fair and kind, isn't that a better place to be than in a world where everyone is out for himself and to heck with anything that gets in their way?
Today we have to teach our children to beware of strangers. A day doesn't go by without news reports of missing children and horrible kidnappings are killings. Today strangers are to beware of.
What a terrible difference in a single generation.