Our nation is in crisis. We are facing problems that are not new really. A study of history seems to reveal that all the great civilizations of the past collapsed from within, before ever facing threats from without. Their downfall was first a moral breakdown.
I think that is where we are as a nation today. In the 1960s, then-President Lyndon Johnson began his war on poverty by forming “The Great Society.” While his intentions were good, his plan was flawed from the beginning. A sociological study was done on the increase of “street men” in Washington, D.C., as an unintended consequence of the government program. The author of the study was Eliot Liebow, and his work is entitled “Talley’s Corner.” According to a report by Daniel Moynihan, before the program began 75% of African Americans were born into two parent families. But the government program was designed to award benefits to single moms. The family ties began to unravel. According to Wikipedia in 2015, 77% of African American births are now to unmarried mothers.
In the white community, the trend towards single-parent families sky-rocketed after California introduced the concept of no-fault divorce to the nation. In 1968, when I began my part-time ministry it was unusual for me to find teens who came from single-parent families. By 1983 it was unusual for me to find teens who were not in single-parent families. There has been a breakdown of families across the board. While study after study shows the benefit of the traditional family, our culture now seeks to persecute anyone who holds the view of a traditional family. It is a breakdown morally.
This breakdown is symptomatic of a much deeper breakdown in sexuality. I am appalled with the overt messages or the poorly veiled innuendos that are seen on prime-time television today. We won’t even speak of the images easily accessed on cable TV. It is a perverted country indeed that strives to eliminate political candidates on moral grounds yet honor the late Hugh Hefner with a “Humanitarian of the Year” award. What blatant hypocrisy!
Rather than continue down this line, let me just say I don’t believe we have necessarily reached the “tipping point.” There is still God, and God is still in control! That said, none of our current human or political solutions is going to correct our course. If we continue the way we are headed, we are headed for certain destruction. The answer is not who sits in the White House, or who sits in the courthouse, or who sits in our Houses of Congress. The answer is Who sits on the throne of your heart?
In mankind’s lowest point of history, we crucified the Son of God. It was the people who were supposed to be serving God who led the charge. They trumped up false charges against him, hired professionals to lie about Him, gave Him a mock trail, then, when Pilate saw through it they threatened him with riots and lies if he did not give them what they desired. Being morally bankrupt himself, Pilate capitulated to save his own skin.
Even as Jesus was dying on that cross in excruciating pain, His thoughts were for the very people who were killing Him; His thoughts were for you. His thoughts were for me. He cried, “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
The One who came from Heaven, the One who loves you no matter what you’ve done, is the One who longs to forgive you and the One who longs to change your heart!
The only way to begin healing as a nation is by first discovering what God’s forgiveness through Christ means to us personally and accepting the gift of forgiveness he offers us. Paul told earlier believers who knew what it was to suffer great loss — they were alienated from their own families if they identified as His followers, they lost their jobs if they became Christians, they had their homes and properties confiscated (we forget all this) — “When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need — words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you. And do not make the Holy Spirit sad. The Spirit is God’s proof that you belong to him. God gave you the Spirit to show that God will make you free when the final day comes. Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ.” (Ephesians 4:29–32, NCV)