In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks and hate crimes that have flooded the news this year the lines between black and white, rich and poor, gay and straight, man and woman, young and old, begin to dim. ALL of us searching the depths of our souls to understand what kind of hatred would cause any human entity or group to do such a thing. We are in mourning for friends and for strangers alike. We fall to our knees searching for answers. We begin to join hands across our nation as we are reminded of the value of human life. We begin to put aside our differences and care for one another….pray for one another. We stand united against evil.
Oh but how soon we forget the crimes which we say have changed our way of thinking. The crimes that have caused us to throw aside our differences and honor humanity. The acts of hate and terror become a distant memory and we move our thoughts back into our “normal” more comfortable frame of mind. How quickly we pick up our swords and rebuild our walls of separation. How quickly we distance ourselves from the uncomfortable, disturbing topics that brought us to our knees. How easily we allow evil to once again become an acceptable part of our world; an evil presence masquerading as a friend. We once again pick up our causes and throw stones at each other because we have forgotten that “people” are not the enemy…Satan is the enemy!
Yes, this country needs to turn to God. The citizens of this country need to get on their knees and pray for repentance to Almighty God and turn from evil. If all of our country turned to God and truly understood and followed His teaching of love, forgiveness, and servanthood, we would be blessed. Scripture even confirms the promise of blessings for a nation that turns to God.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 22:12.
Do I believe that God has removed His hand of blessing in vital areas of our nation? Yes. Do I believe that it is of utmost importance for us to turn back to God as the Lord of our nation? Yes. But how do we create a desire in non-believers to seek for and turn to a loving God who offers salvation and forgiveness through His son Jesus Christ? The answer is certainly not by followers of Jesus showing hatred and passing judgment as if we are perfect and free of sin. Certainly not by arguing with each other over issues that are not vital for salvation. Belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, crucified for my sin, and raised from the dead to offer eternal life….that is vital.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14
I have known this verse by memory since I was a child. Many of you have as well. But as I was preparing this study some things really became more clear to me. “If MY people who are called by my name”…You know, I’ve always thought about this verse and how our country needs to turn around. People need to get their act together….people need to turn to God. However, look again at what this verse says…If MY people. This verse is for those of us who are believers. This is a wake up call for me! He is not talking to all those people who need to turn to God for the first time. He is talking to us; followers of Jesus. So it is our job to be the change. Those of us who have been washed with the blood of Christ.
So how many of you would like to make a difference for your country? Let’s see the instructions that God gives us.
1) Humble ourselves – We can be a pretty prideful bunch. We have the best country, we live in the best state, we support the best political party, we go to the best church, our opinions and ideas are the right ones, and I could go on and on. God tells us to never put ourselves above anyone else. In Micah 6:8 we are told what God requires of us. “Do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God.” Jesus describes Himself in Matthew 11:29 as being “gentle and humble in heart”.
2)Pray – Are we praying for our country? I would imagine that most of us are.But are we praying for ourselves as believers to be the catalyst for change according to God’s purpose? Are we praying for the change to begin with us?
3) Seek My face – How do we seek the face of God? We must read His word. We must listen for His voice. But I think there is another way to seek His face that is vital in order for us to be a part of the change in our world. We must look for the face of God in the people of this world. We have to start looking at the people around us as made in His image. We have to start to cherish and love people again.
4) Turn from your wicked ways – What wicked ways do we have? Are we allowing Satan to work into our lives? Are there things that we accept in our lives now that we would have never accepted even 10 years ago. We have to be willing to stand up and say NO…this has to stop…in MY life. He doesn’t say that it is my job to point out all the evil in everyone else’s life. My focus must be on recognizing the evil in my life. The change must start within myself and my own sin. The change begins with me; and with you. I am not the judge or the jury. I am a pilgrim on the journey.
Now here is my favorite part! For those of you that love English, this is the “Then” of the “If/Then” statement. If we do the things above, then He will hear, heal, and forgive! Praise God for His love and desire for a relationship with us. His desire is to bless us and not bring us harm. His desire is for us to learn to love and support each other. His desire is for all people to know Him through His son Jesus Christ.
If you believe it is time to turn back to God as a nation; if you believe that the change must begin with each of us as individual follower’s of Christ, I pray that you will share this post with your friends and family. Let’s start a movement of change in the Christian community centered around the love commanded in the new covenant by Jesus Christ. May the change others see in us as individual believers be the catalyst that will bring change to our nation.