THE PROBLEM by Keith Giles
Last week we looked at the way our own sub-culture isolates us from the world we're supposed to have a positive influence on.
I wanted to continue this thought-process a bit further and point out another aspect of how our insistence upon huddling together against the "big bad" world has disqualified us from our calling to be Salt and Light in the culture around us.
One by-product of the Christian Sub-culture is the sense of antagonism it creates. More specifically, the "Us vs Them" mentality begins to dominate our thoughts from behind our wall of safety and comfort.
Keeping in mind that most of this "comfort" and "safety" is made up of materialistic goods and services; as if our descent into Christian Consumerism would ever hope to change us...or the World around us in any way other than towards the negative end of the spectrum; we've probably all had the opportunity to hear this mentality verbalized as something like, "If only those sinners would get saved, the world would be a much better place".
You can substitute the word "sinner" for anything such as "Homosexual", "Liberal", "Atheist", "Agnostic", "Criminal", etc. It really doesn't matter what word you place in that sentence. The heart of the matter is still the same. We, who call ourselves followers of Jesus, tend to point the finger and shake our heads and blame the moral decay of our Nation on "Those People" who are not like us.
The idea being that, if there were more people in the world just like us, then everything would be perfect...because of course, we are so much better than all of "Those People" who are not like us.
There are so many things wrong with this kind of thinking that I really don't even need to pull in a scripture verse here to begin to explain just how...but I will because the Word of God has more weight than my own.
In 2 Chronicles, chapter 7, verse 14, we read a most interesting idea set forth by God Himself. This passage is not uncommon among those who call themselves followers of Jesus. We quote it now and again, but I suspect we miss the point that is being made more often than not.
God says, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
Did you see it?
God speaks to those who are "called by (His) name" and says that the healing of their land, their Nation, is held back because of their own lack of humility, their own lack of prayer, and their own unwillingness to seek His face.
It's amazing to me that God holds His own people accountable for the healing of their land. What He says needs to happen first is that we humble ourselves. That means we don't use statements like "If only those people would be more like us, everything would be wonderful". Humble people don't talk like that...or think that way either.
Next, he calls us to pray, and I would suggest that in this context what we need to pray for is our own hearts to be changed and softened and melted. We need to humble ourselves first, and then second we need to pray for forgiveness and repent of our pride.
Remember, "God opposes the proud, but gives Grace to the humble"- (Proverbs 3:34). I don't know about you, but I'd rather that God give me Grace than that He oppose me.
After we pray, God asks us to seek His face. This means that we remain humble, we stay on our knees, and we submit ourselves to Him and His perfect will for our lives.
Finally, God asks that those who are called by His name "turn from their wicked ways". This is sobering stuff. At face value it would appear that it is our sin that is holding back the healing of our Nation, not the sin of "those people". If this is true, then we will have more to answer for than we have expected when this life is over and our lives are laid open before God at the Judgement. Has our sin, our pride, our lack of humility or submission to God prevented our Nation from being blessed and healed and restored?
Simply put, this verse suggests that we are the problem, not "those people".
You and I.
Repentance is not an option, then. It is a necessity. Not just for our own salvation and spiritual health, but for the health of this Nation.
Let the humility, the prayer, the repentance, the submission, begin.
Time is short.
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