“What Are the Righteous to Do?” Evangelical Thoughts on America in 2019 Part One: Some Realistic Perspective on Unholiness

Psalm 11:3 (NIV) “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

There is a remarkable scene in a movie that most Christians rightfully avoid. It is violent and sometimes vulgar, so I understand. But I have watched it a couple of times because my father was born in Sicily and I feel like I am watching some of my paternal uncles. It is, of course, “The Godfather.” It’s not a favorite but it does interest me culturally.

At one point, Michael Corleone tells his very innocent and gentle fiancé that he is going to work with his father in the Mafia. She is stunned and disappointed and says “Oh Michael. You’re not like those men. They are brutal.” He replies, “My father is just a businessman with great responsibilities like a President or a Senator.” Then she says “Michael! Don’t be naïve! Presidents and Senators don’t have people killed!” Michael says “Really Kay? Who is being naïve? You think they don’t?”

I am not suggesting that any of our current leaders in government are killers but rather that Michael was making a good point. Let’s be realistic. Sin abounds! Men and women in powerful places often commit acts of evil and we’d be silly to think that the Mafia members are the only bad guys. I’m not defending the Mafia. I’m being realistic about the power and profusion of sin.

Does this short account matter? Why mention it? Because we as Bible-believing Christians are sometimes way beyond naïve. We almost act as if we expect everyone “out there” to behave decently and without guile. But man … and woman … and all of us are capable of the worst kinds of depravity. As the Apostle Paul said: “All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.” We read in the Gospel of John:

John 2:23-25 (NIV) 23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. 25 He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.

Jesus did not entrust himself to them! That makes it seem as if we must go thru life never trusting anyone. As if every single person is capable of deceiving us and harming us and others. But … in a world of sin those things are a reality. That is the wonder of the Gospel. Even though we are sinners … corrupted by sin and fallen in our natures …. God loves us and offers us salvation in Christ! But we need to be like the Lord Jesus Christ. Frankly realistic.

Our fallen world promises fallen and heartbreaking behavior. When I heard that some politicians are furious at the conditions at the southern border, I was not surprised. In the midst of that incredible mess of humanity, there is drug dealing and sex-trafficking and all kinds of crime. Anything can happen where sin abounds. We see it … everywhere. So, we pray daily, wringing our hands. As the Psalmist said:

Psalm 11:3 (NIV) “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

I am not righteous if by that we mean truly Holy and sinless. That’s not me. Or you. Only Jesus was and is genuinely righteous. So, it may be best to review that word and be sure we are understanding it properly. It’s rooted in a Hebrew word meaning “just” or “justice seeker.” Our problem is that all kinds of decent people understand justice issues differently. So that when we criticize others for their views and actions, it is not always clear that we have the most God-centered and Christlike view. We are righteous in God’s sight because of our relationship to Jesus, not because of our inherent virtues. In any case, we ask “What are we to do when the foundations are crumbling? If we shout, will anyone be listening?” We get into an emotional cull de sac. Even believers don’t agree on the problems or the solutions.

So, where to begin? As we pray daily for America and our nation’s leadership, I want to pray for a few weeks … perhaps forever while here in the flesh … as follows:

Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV) 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

David had just told God that He should slay the wicked! But then he had the spiritual maturity to remember that there were things about himself that would offend God. Therefore friends, let’s be praying first about ourselves and our needs for his mercies and leading. And THEN pray for the nation and leaders by name.

“Oh God, change me and cleanse me and then hear my prayers for my nation and community. Prayers that you will grant repentance … but begin with me! In Jesus’ name! Amen.”

More to follow. Blessings! Pastor Alberta

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