I go back and forth between thinking Facebook is great and thinking we’d all be better off without it. However, one way it has proven to be incredibly useful is in its ability to show us a glimpse into how our friends think, and one thing I consistently see from my Christian friends is likes and shares on the topic of restoring America. “Like this image if you want to see a Christian in the White House.” “Share if you think Washington needs to get back to the biblical principles this nation was founded upon.” “We’re still a Christian nation.” I’m sure you’ve seen those types of posts.
Because of that, and because of things I hear Christians say from time to time, I worry that American Christians are more worried about the health of the nation than they are the growth of the church. Consider how often we talk about the “good old days” here in America, when people were more outwardly moral and the government wasn’t actively promoting sin the way it has in recent years. While there’s nothing wrong with loving your country, one does have to wonder if American Christians have come to desire the comfort, wealth, and ease America offered in previous generations more than we want to see God’s kingdom expanded. Just look at how nostalgic we are for those days, back when it was easy – one could even say convenient – to be a Christian in America.
The way we speak of these issues is all the evidence we need to know that what we dislike about America’s immorality today isn’t that people are without God, but that their choices effect us in some way. We were perfectly content with most of the nation being destined for eternal punishment as long as we didn’t have gay people on our television or legalized drugs. I really think most Christians would be perfectly content to have those days back so we could live our lives in comfort and tell ourselves that our neighbors are all “good people,” meaning we don’t have to deal with the reality of sin. Instead of always looking back to those days, why can’t we dream bigger and look ahead to a time where Christians have gone on the attack in making disciples everywhere we go?
The irony in this is that in all of our attempts to re-establish Christian morality in America, we’re overlooking the only way to make that happen: By fulfilling the great commission.
Want to solve the homosexual marriage issue?
Want to deter drug usage?
Want to improve race relations?
Want to keep Islam from gaining ground?
Want to lessen the number of crimes committed and/or discourage rogue police officers?
Want to reduce sex outside of marriage, thereby reducing the greatest source of abortions?
Voting is a blessing, to be sure, but you’re not going to accomplish those changes with votes, regardless of how many you have on your side. Electing people who believe in God doesn’t mean 300 million citizens are going to suddenly believe in God, live by His standards, and stop advocating policies that go against His Word. If you really think that all of our problems are going to go away and we’ll go back to the days where God is openly praised all over America just because President Obama (or any other elected official) is replaced with the right person, you don’t understand the nature of the problem or the nature of the mission God has given us.
We fall into the trap of thinking as collectivists far too easily. We see the issues in terms of groups, but God wants us to work on individuals. That’s what the great commission calls us to do. There is no person you could elect nor law you could pass that would make “the pro-homosexual crowd” conform with God’s laws… But there is a God-given method for reaching someone who supports homosexuality. There is no instant solution for making all drug users stop… But there is a way to reach individuals who abuse those substances.We live next as neighbors, classmates, and coworkers with these people every day, lost in their sin all the while, and then we go to the voting booth every two years hoping our vote will take care of the problem. How do we not see the hopelessness in that? As long as our solution for handling these sin-sick people is trying to outvote them, change will never happen.
On the other hand, when we start seeing individuals lost in sin rather than a nation lost in sin, we start thinking of solutions God’s way. When we tell someone about Jesus rather than trying to get the government to make Him live like Jesus against His will, change starts to happen.
We have to stop thinking of how to help fix America. Instead, start thinking of how to reach the individuals around you. If we all start doing that, we just might find that America’s morality will take care of itself.
By Jack Wilkie
Jack Wilkie is the author of “Failure: What Christian Parents Need to Know About American Education” and is the speaker for Focus Press’s “The Lost Generation” seminar. To schedule a seminar at your church, contact jack@focuspress.org.