Where do we go from here?
Our nation has just gone through one of the most divisive and difficult elections in recent history. How should we move forward? Here are some thoughts.
Realize government has limitations. Government is a powerful force as it uses the power of coercion to attempt to keep order and make laws that legislate morality and teach the populous what is supposedly right and wrong. However, the law cannot change anyone’s heart. Only the work of God can convert sinner to saint. To paraphrase one famous person in history, “If you gain the White-house and lose your soul, what have you gained?” Or, “If you lose the white-house and lose your soul what have you gained?” We’ve spent a lot of energy focused on who will lead for the next four years. Don’t neglect where you will spend eternity.
Stop expecting the government to provide economic utopia. One of the reasons our nation is in the poor economic condition we are in (debt, wage stagnation), is that a large percentage of our populous has allowed the government to replace the traditional providers of the family. Entitlements encourage dependency. Depending on anything except your God-given talent and hard work to provide for you is a false hope that will only diminish who you were meant to be. The government can never replace a father.
As Grove City College professor Mark Hendrickson notes, “In Washington, D.C., you measure your influence by the size of your budget and the number of people who report to you. If you’re in the poverty game, it makes no sense for your budget to be reduced and for the people working for you to go down. That’s a very uncomfortable truth, but it is a truth. Eighty-seven thousand dollars per family of four [living in poverty] was spent last year in America, taxpayer dollars, spent on poverty. Now if that $87,000 were deposited directly in that family’s bank account, there would be no poverty in America. The fact that there are people still living below the poverty level means that they’re not getting anywhere near that amount of money, even though Americans are paying that much for it. This is what bugs me when I hear politicians say, “Well, people aren’t paying enough taxes. We’re not doing enough to care for the poor.” We’re getting taxed so much now that we’re spending $87,000 per year per family of four. Where does most of that money go? It goes to the bureaucrats administering the program.” We must demand accountability of our government work force and challenge those who can produce more than they consume to rise up and do it. We can save the safety nets for those who truly need it.
The secularization of our nation is still an issue. We have turned away from God and an election won’t change the need for Christians to live out their faith in private and public. Prayer and piety can no longer be ignored in the American church. We must deal with the racial tension that keeps our Sundays too segregated. Our nation still needs to deal with the collision of “sexual rights” and religious freedom. These need to be dealt with by allowing freedom of conscience. Let Bruce Springsteen boycott North Carolina and stop forcing artists (bakers, calligraphers, sign-makers) to violate their conscience in the marketplace. Sexual preferences and are just that, preferences. They are not immutable characteristics that deserve special protection. We can still be civil to each other and disagree.
Let love be our guide. We must love our neighbors. Even those we disagree with. Love rejoices in the truth but when speaking the truth, we should generate more light than heat. Let us see the common humanity and dignity in each person and honor one another.
Keeping in mind the sacredness of each person, let us work to elevate the discourse in our world. Let us turn away from the crassness of language that has become so common and de-sacralizes the people God made in his image.
The giant meteor didn’t come. Jesus hasn’t returned. Looks like we’ve still got work to do.