In God We Trust
As another celebration of the birthday of our wonderful nation comes to a close, I am so thankful to live in this country, but I am sobered by the profound amount of anti-American news flooding to my attention.
One might think that I am talking about ISIS, terrorism, radical Islam, bombings and so on, but I am not. I am referring to the amount of illegal and unethical behavior, lies and corruption that our government leaders seem to eagerly embrace, and the state of the people of this wonderful country.
There is scarcely a serious voice anywhere in the government demanding that their peers be held to some level of accountability, making those that don’t fully embrace or engage in such activity no less culpable.
I think to myself that I am glad that I do not work in the FBI, the Secret Service, the Justice Department, anywhere in the judicial system, or any other part of the government, as the embarrassment would have me rethinking my career choice. But then I realize that I am not saved from the embarrassment by not having a job in the government. The leaders of this country, by their actions as our leaders, have somehow turned being an American into something dirty, cheap and sleazy, something to be embarrassed about (well, maybe not so much about being an American as being embarrassed by the words and actions of the people and government of our country and how we are seen as a result).
This is where the magnifying glass turns from the government to the people. We are no less guilty of the behavior displayed by our governmental leaders. You and I have played a part by allowing this to happen. As an American citizen, I have a responsibility, along with every other citizen of the The United States of America, to conduct myself with integrity, to hold those around me and those that I have elected, accountable to the standards of this great nation. It is obvious we have not done enough. I, and every other American citizen, have to stand up for our beliefs and the principles and ideals of this great country and demand that the bar remain high for our each other and our leaders.
We need to change.
As a Christian, I think the start to that change lies with all Christians and our fundamental beliefs. If God is first in our lives, it must show in how we live our lives and what we expect from others. We shouldn’t stop with setting God’s standard as our own, but also expect those around us to rise to that standard as well. We should courageously and lovingly stand in the gap and be intolerant sinful behavior, wherever it may arise, and encourage better of each other. We should hold our government and all those who serve in it to a higher standard. Leaders are expected to set the example to follow. Christians and non Christians alike should strive for the higher standard.
God shows us what that standard should be and can be. Ge also shows us what happens when we choose an inferior standard. Whenever I study the bible, I am bombarded by a consistent thread. It is hard to miss. Over and over this pattern is repeated. Honor an obey God and receive his blessing. Turn away from God and lose that blessing.
God needs to be first. God should be first. As a wife should come first to a husband and a husband first to a wife, God should come first in our lives, even before ourselves.
All we have to do is fully turn our faces to God and away from the idols of this world. That is easier said than done, I know. But great and worthwhile things are commonly not easy. Let us not use that as an excuse to try.
This is especially hard in a country such as the United States of America, because we have such a strong desire in our society for self to be first. We think we can do anything ourselves. We want what we want, when and how we want it. We want our cake and to eat it too. Even more, we want to both be able to have the cake and eat the cake without any consequences of eating the cake.
We want to indulge our desires and fantasies without guilt, so we just tell ourselves that it doesn’t really say we can’t do that in the bible. We just tell ourselves that God is love and just requires love, and that to love means accepting everything about a person and everything they do. The result ends up that we make anything acceptable, no matter how sinful, because that is what we want. Who cares what God really wants or expects.
Of course we are also a society that excels at judging others first. That means that the standard of love that I mentioned only matters when it is in line with what we want. As soon as we don’t like something, we are quick to condemn it (and we wonder why people of other belief systems think of Christians as hypocrites and Americans as selfish, self righteous and self absorbed). What’s worse, is that we will turn around and blame anyone and everyone else when things go wrong (it can’t be our fault).
Now in today’s world we have Satan working us from another angle too. As if we aren’t far enough off track already, Satan has his hooks in muslim extremists and gives us yet another target to point our fingers at. Very quickly we have Christians crying out that we need to kill all of them. We may very well need to kill to stop the threat of evil. But remember that the bible has also shown us many times that a nation totally devoted to God has nothing to fear and that God will deliver them. They may not even have to lift a finger against the enemy, if that is God’s will for his glory.
The key here is that we should not desire to kill, but instead stand agains sin and evil. Jesus teaches us to love the sinner and hate the sin. God loves all people, even those extremists that have become puppets of Satan. He just hates what they choose to do.
Some people would cringe at that thought and maybe be a bit outraged. To that I would point out that Jesus can use anyone to further his kingdom, if that is his will.
Just look at the apostle Paul, who was known as Saul before he encountered Jesus. Saul was a devout Jew, who was highly educated and respected leader among the Jewish people, who tortured, imprisoned and killed followers of The Way or Christians, and who likely did so fully believing with his heart and mind he was doing the right thing (sounds a little like an extremist). One close encounter with Jesus and Saul’s world changed forever. (By the way, to all you extremists out there that think you can force God’s hand and bring about the end of the world, this is a good example of the futility of such an agenda. Wow, does anyone else think that that sounds like The Borg – “Resistance is futile!”, but it is true. Man has no power to control or direct God, and what you believe does not change that.)
So what do we do? I am as broken as the next person and do not pretend to have all the answers. But, what I can say, with total confidence, is that a nation that is devoted to God first, need fear nothing. In that there is great hope. A nation devoted to God will turn from evil and sinful behavior and strive for the bar set by God, not self. The leaders of such a nation would set an example of high standards, not demonstrate total contempt for standards or anything other than their own interests. One nation under God means just that.
You don’t have to be a Christian for this. There were many people of other belief systems that lived among the Israelites during biblical times. They prospered and they suffered right along side them. Their beliefs didn’t change what God did or did not do. However, their actions carried a cost, if it resulted in God’s people turning away from him, and it affected everyone.
The people of this country need to put God first. We need to trust in his ways and commands for us. We need to stop trying to take In God We Trust off our currency and remember why it was placed there, so that we would avoid the idolatry that comes from thinking we are the source of our prosperity. We need to make In God We Trust central to how we as a people and a government function in the world. When we do that, we will have nothing to fear of evil. Sin will become the exception instead of the standard, and we will know God’s blessing and favor, and prosperity anew.
God Bless America!
I welcome your comments and ask you to share this with your friends and contacts socially. I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!