American politics and culture are a pretty tough place to be. It’s always been that way, but over the past 15 years it seems that the political divide has become much larger and the “middle” is much smaller to almost non existent. And as it often is, politics represents culture in its more honest form and the bottom line is that people disagree. In an America where we’re all supposed to put aside our personal beliefs for the common good, or at least keep our personal beliefs, well… personal, it’s hard for the Christian to know how to apply matters of faith and what we believe to our culture today.
In social settings we’re told to be quiet because we are interfering with people’s freedoms, while the Christian would offer that they aren’t free, their actions lead to bondage and brokenness of all kinds. I’ve been reading slowly through the book of Proverbs and in chapter 29 there were several things that jumped out at me. Verse 16 puts it this way “When the wicked thrive, So Does Sin, but the righteous will see their downfall”. In the American effort to pursue freedom from responsibility of Godly living Christians become the kill joy, the stumbling block for wickedness as the bible would call it. Yet sin brings death to our world, not just personal eternity. It brings death to relationships, opportunities, reputations and it brings death to freedoms.
N.T. Wright once described sin as making a person less human. In creation we were made in the image of God and it was good. When sin came, we stepped out of the image of God and we stepped away from truest humanity – sin is a step toward becoming inhuman and the world is filled with examples of this. It is ALWAYS this way. Obedience and love for the relationship we have with our heavenly Father because of our relationship through Jesus Christ, given by grace through faith by the Holy Spirit – that is what leads to being more fully human and in fact it is one of the hopes of God that we would become more Christ like.
But there is tension and a warning. Verse 27 says it this way “The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright.” And here in is the reality, the question will always come down to perspective. One believes in the protection of human freedoms to do whatever they want, the freedom to remain the god of their lives and Biblical Christianity is a serious threat to that way of living. Christians believe sin causes death and they believe with the wisdom of verse 2 that “When the righteous Thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” Sin is a serious threat to the stability of a people, a family and a nation and even more importantly people’s eternities.
An old history teach repeatedly would teach that “those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. Christians need to stand firm on what it means to be fully human and we need to stand firm on what the bible describes as sin. History is complete with examples of horrendous national outcomes that disagree with the precepts of Biblical Christianity, the marks are clear, though the sin process is subtle and does not bring death right away. Like a person caught in the addiction of heroin or meth, it slowly transforms and turns a human being into the walking dead and EVERY sin addiction does this in the end. The only hope for that situation is the restoration and the power that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. In repentance, in turning toward God and walking in what God has says is best in his word the Bible, can a human being become more human and find the healing they are ultimately looking for (See John 4 for a great example of this).
We don’t want to see a country where inhumanity reigns, we don’t want to see it in our families and we pray for wisdom for our sons and daughters and for our older generations as well as our own.
God give us eyes to see your word in action (Hebrews 4:12), give us courage to stand firm in your commands and when we fall, forgive us and help us to receive and reflect the love of Christ. Let your love for people and desire to see them truly set free form the burden of playing god motivate American Christians more than a desire to get back to the perception of the good old days. Too many hearts and souls need to hear that whoever confesses and renounces sin finds mercy, restoration, renewal, resurrection and new life through Jesus.