Through emails and various forms of social media, I find myself inundated with people worried about the current state and future of our country. Fear and distrust seem rampant. So let me use this column to address some of these issues.
First of all, let me address those who are Christ-followers. Shame on us if we are spending more time talking through social media outlets about those issues we disagree with than we are talking to God about those issues.
Nero, Emperor of Rome, (54-68 AD), was no friend of Christianity. His perversions are legendary. Many feel that it was Nero who set the great Roman fire that burned a large part of the city in order to gain property he wanted, and then he blamed Christians for the fire and exacted a heavy toll on early believers.
Yet Paul, writing to young Pastor Timothy, advised, “Here are my directions: Pray much for others; plead for God’s mercy upon them; give thanks for all he is going to do for them. Pray in this way for kings and all others who are in authority over us, or are in places of high responsibility, so that we can live in peace and quietness, spending our time in godly living and thinking much about the Lord.” (1 Timothy 2:1–2, The Living Bible).
If you are a Christ follower, are you praying for our national and local leaders?
If you are not a Christ follower, I have a piece of news: no matter how much you want hope and change, it is not going to come through the White House, nor is it going to come through our courthouses, nor through our congressional houses.
Real hope and change can only be found in Jesus.
The problems that persist in plaguing our country (and for that matter our world) are not problems that laws, legislation or social actions can even address, let alone change. The great social experiment with which we are currently toying with did not work in the former USSR and they are not going to work here; you never lift someone up by tearing someone else down (get a clue Occupy Wall Street people).
“Share the wealth” may sound good in theory, but even a casual study of socialistic systems reveals that the only thing that gets shared is poverty. The privileged still retain their privileges and the average person struggles.
If you don’t believe that, you need to be asking why congress and our president have opted out of being a part of the Affordable Care Plan that is supposed to be so wonderful. Henry Ford hit the nail on the head when he observed, “If you think the government is going to take care of you, just look at how they have taken care of the American Indian.”
The issue here is not a political issue; it is a heart issue. The Prophet Jeremiah described it this way: “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out.” (Jeremiah 17:9, The Message).
Do you know why there is so much fraud found in our publicly funded assistance programs? Because the human heart is “hopelessly dark and deceitful” and will find a way to enjoy ill-gotten gains. The best social programs are doomed to eventual failure as long as the only thing they address are external symptoms of a ravenous internal disease.
Hope and change on a merely social construct level will result in hopelessness and despair. Think Detroit.
Only Jesus has the power to bring real hope and change because only He can heal that hopelessly dark and deceitful heart. We who claim to be Christ followers need to stop wringing our hands and whining about what Washington did now, and start praying for our leaders and our nation.
Lasting hope and change will only come when the heart is transformed, and only Jesus has the power to do that.
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit the Gateway Web site at www.gatewaycommunity.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.