For January 22, 2019
While driving recently, I heard a question that brought back precious memories of a bygone era in my life. I was reminded of the times when I drove our children to church and school events and our family vacations when they were young. Weather the trip was one-half hour or several hours in duration. Invariably they always seemed to ask: Are we there yet? Apparently, they wanted to arrive at their destination much faster than I was driving at the moment.
We’ve all grown up since then. But now I find myself asking that same question when I look at my contemporaries, our nation, and the world around me today. Where is our sense of civility? Where’s our respect for human dignity and worth? What about expressing tolerance for the opinions of others—for the sake of the common good? Are we there yet?
The wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon makes this observation in Proverbs 14:34 (NLT):
Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
I am grateful to the Lord to live in this country, which He has greatly blessed with many opportunities we often take for granted: to freely worship, to express opinions without censorship, to elect our representation, and to travel where we want when we want. We also benefit from a capitalistic system that supplies us with goods and services that enhance our standard of living and improve our overall quality of life.
However, sometimes I feel embarrassed when I see adults acting like children having temper tantrums. I wonder if these men and women understand the gravity of setting such poor examples before their own children; whether natural or communal. Nobody wins when we sow seeds that produce proud, self-centered, morally reprehensible fruit that will affect us all in time.
I am also saddened by the heightening racial hostility in the US where civility and understanding should be expressed. All of us should understand and be willing to accept that one particular race did not “corner the market” on victimization, and that ours is not a perfect world. Exploitation and victimization happen everywhere around the globe, leaving us with the realization there is much work to be done…everywhere.
We can start by acknowledging God created us to help and support each other. Otherwise, our alternative is more victimization, repression, anarchy, hostility, and senseless violence.
None of us are “perfect” enough to encumber another person (or race) with the debt of hostility or unforgiveness because all of us are offenders by default. Our human propensity to sin ensures global injustice as long as we live on earth. In other words, all of us have committed sinful acts against God or each other, either directly by commission or indirectly by omission.
Daily we watch the tragic futility of those who seek fulfillment through wealth, sports notoriety, political power, corporate achievement, social status, academia, technology, and medicine. Our failures remind us that, although we are unfit for a glorious Heaven morally and spiritually, we are well suited for a tormenting Hell; because God has a “no riffraff” policy that remains in force today.
As Romans 3:23 teaches, all people everywhere have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. For with all the technology, self-help, and other resources we have at our disposal, we can do nothing to correct our spiritual condition without God’s intervention. In fact, He must change us from the inside out as John observes in John 1:12-13 (NLT):
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
Through Jesus Christ, we can experience a complete, internal, spiritual transformation, have our sins forgiven, and we can have an intimate, eternal fellowship with God and each other as well.
Thus as forgiven followers of Jesus Christ, we can begin to exhibit a higher level of spiritual and moral acumen; one that accepts and embraces others so that we can enhance and preserve a civil society. Are we there yet? Unfortunately we are not!
But human lives can change drastically in the presence of the Living Christ, and drastically changed (Christ-centered and Spirit-controlled) human lives think, speak, and act in ways that are not detrimental to the health, welfare, or safety of others regardless of race, gender, culture, wealth, social status, or political affiliation.
We may not be there yet, but it is possible to change the world nevertheless—one person at a time—starting with you and me.