America The Beautiful - and broken.
America – We have been the most free nation in history, enjoying rights and privileges unparalleled in human history; not to mention the magnificent prosperity that persons in most nations cannot even fathom. It has been said of this nation that with hard work and determination there is no limit to what a man or woman can accomplish regardless of how mean their beginnings. From every corner of the earth, men have flowed to America because here they have been able to possess what few places in the world can offer – a chance.
In this hour however, we see both our liberty and our prosperity ebbing away and might pause to wonder why. Is it the failure of government, the hubris of our leaders as surely we have seen our share of moral failure in the office of presidents and the greedy excesses of legislators? Or, perhaps it is corporate greed and industrial consumption that is eroding our liberty and gnawing away at our prosperity. Whatever the reason and whoever may be to blame, we are watching in dismay as the things we have held so dear are slowly being stripped away. We certainly hear a cacophony of voices with no shortage of institutions or ideologies to lay blame upon. But, as immoral as our leaders have become and as greedy as Wall Street has become, they are not truly the cause of our demise but only the symptom.
The truth is that as a people we have become increasingly unable to govern ourselves. This may sound strange, but as strange as it sounds it is the truth. Democracy is wholly unable to function within any but a self-governed people. Our forefathers understood this as they penned documents that at the very heart of which was “self-governance”. We cast off the chains of tyranny, or government by another so that every man might under the guidance of divine principle and the protection of a nation constructed upon divine principle might govern himself and not be ruled by another. The birth of our nation and the establishment of our political system was not conceived to rule over men, but to afford proper protection so that they might rule wisely over their own selves.
Many fail to understand the fabric of the Holy Scriptures and believe them to be filled with rules and laws to constrain men when in fact the Holy Scriptures are a set of divine principles which God wants to write upon our hearts and by which we might wisely govern ourselves toward “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Jesus is our King, but he does not desire to “rule” over us as we understand it, but to set us free from the shackles of the power of darkness, to loose us from the slavery of our own lusts and self-destruction that we might stand up as men, guided by principles which foster health and happiness. Many, even in the church I fear, never truly grasp that the laws of Scriptures were never intended to provide us with salvation for our souls in eternity for only grace can do that great work; but to guide us that it might go well with us and our children in THIS life. (Deuteronomy 6)
As we have grown increasingly self-centered, self-absorbed, and self-seeking we have become increasingly unable to govern our own lusts from our inward man and as a result external government has flowed into the vacuum left by our own selfishness. History has proven that external governance always robs men of liberty, takes away rights rather than protecting rights, and oppresses rather than liberates.
No, I am sorry. We have no one to blame but our own wicked hearts and we can curse nothing but our own sad choices that have chosen immediate gratification rather than long term peace and tranquility. We have been rendered fat and slovenly by our own indulgence and no longer able, nor I fear have the will to defend what God has given us. The sharks of darkness can smell the death that is already among us and seek to close in for the kill.
Someone asked me recently if I thought our current government was bringing the judgment of God upon our nation. My answer? You may not like it. Our president is not bringing the judgment of God upon us – he IS the judgment of God upon a nation of men that are no longer able or willing to govern themselves.
I don’t know if there is any hope left for this nation but I do know this: There is hope for you and me. We can still turn our faces toward God in humility and repentance, turn from our wicked ways and seek His face. Doing this we can know that God always keeps His Word which says, “a broken heart and a contrite spirit, He will not deny.”