“Those People” Are the Problem. (by Jon Shuler​​)

I am sure I am not alone in being stunned by many things that have happened in this country in the last few months and years. But the reaction to some of these events has overshadowed, for me and I believe for many, the incidents that precipitated them. And the speed with which much of the media, and some in leadership, have rushed to decry the whole nation and its history has been little short of mind boggling. What is going on?

For starters it must be faced that we do not live in a perfect society or nation. We are quite some distance from realizing all of the dreams that were a part four nation’s founding. But it must also be faced that there are some forces in play which seek to bring down the established order of our country. There truly are people, now sensing opportunity, who want to reshape the fabric of this nation.They do not value the heritage that underpins the life that most of Christian America holds dear. There are forces that are overtly antagonistic to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the community of men and women who seek to follow him and his teachings. The sorrow in my heart as I write this is acute, but I believe it to be absolutely true.

Faced with this conviction, I am tempted to blame the trouble on others. If it wasn’t for “those people” all would be well. “They” have led us to this moment. “They” have sown the seeds of this destruction. “They” are the ones we need to bring under control. And surely it is true that those who break the law should be punished. But then, as my heart gets ever harder, the Spirit of God convicts me. This is dangerously near the spirit of the Pharisee. This is the very attitude of the censorious in every age. This is the horrible poison that leads to the rise of every tyranny that history unfolds before our eyes. This is not the way of Jesus. His way is a call to suffer for righteousness sake. His way is sound the opening of the gospel message: “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.” But that proclamation always brings judgment before it brings life.

Only God can spare a people from destruction. What God’s Word teaches about a house and a city is also undoubtedly true of a nation: “Unless the Lord builds…the builders build in vain.” (Ps 127:1) The temptation of the moment is to look for the problem somewhere other than where it lies. Judgment must begin with the household of God.

Next Week: Questions for Leaders

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