Throwing more money at these problems is not the answer because as a nation we are now 4.4 trillion dollars in debt; moral issue, as well as, an economic one.
Then we have natural disasters. A Life magazine cover story described 1993 as being a year of "killer weather" with blizzards on the East Coast, drought in the Southeast, floods in the Midwest, and raging fires m the West. The magazine asked if nature had gone mad. Of course, all this occurred before the most the California earthquake!
Our national, collective derangement was also addressed in a USA Today editorial with a similar headline "Condom Ads Reflect A Country 'Gone Mad'" questioning the government's mental condition in producing TV and radio ads that promote sexual promiscuity.
Pat Robertson stated in his book, The Turning Tide, that as a nation we are sliding into "moral oblivion and operating on borrowed time." Jesse Jackson who would normally hold disparate political views from Pat Robertson said about our country, "We are in desperate need of a spiritual, moral, and ethical revival." The spiritual, moral, and ethical state of this country has hardly been the domain of the Government, and these problems transcend politics which brings us to the church.
WHERE IS THE CHURCH IN RELATION TO ALL OF THIS?
Varying statistics estimate the number of so called "Christians" in America to be 70 million. And purportedly 30 to 40 percent of all voters are people who attend church on a regular basis. Fifty-seven percent of the entire population prays every day and about forty to forty-five percent of the population reads the Bible on a daily basis. If any of those statistics are even close to being true, why isn't the church having a greater effect on the country at large? Why isn't it producing moral and social lifestyle changes in our society?
Syndicated newspaper columnist Cal Thomas recently wrote, "The Church needs fixing too...that much of America's major social problems, can be put at the feet of the undisciplined, biblically ignorant, disobedient, uninformed, uncommitted, lethargic church that presumes to bear the name of Jesus Christ." If Cal Thomas' assessment, Pat Robertson's warnings, and Jesse Jackson's pronouncements are true, and the litany of events in our nation seem to indicate they may be, how should we respond?
First, a number of us have been asking the Lord just that in prayer. Second, if it is God's appointed time to judge this nation, then doesn't that judgment begin with the House of God? The Bakker/Swaggert events may very well have been a harbinger. What, if anything, did we learn from those events? Third, the House of the Lord begins with me and my household. Scripture states, "If I judge myself, I won't be judged." If my immediate world is not in order, how can I help others? Fourth, my household is broader than flesh and blood. It includes those to whom I am directly related spiritually. Fifth, I am also associated with co-workers, employers, employees, acquaintances, and neighbors.
All these interpersonal relationships are interrelated. Through this letter, not to mention television, we affect many thousands, even millions of people. These relationships are a microcosm of the real infrastructure of our society. I do not live unto myself, my actions (secret and not so secret) can and do effect others, positively or negatively. The purpose of judgment is to clean house, straighten things out, and bring them into a right relationship with our "Divine Arbiter," namely our heavenly Father.
In the '90s, I turned the tables and had the opportunity to interview TV host, Phil Donahue. I told Mr. Donahue that from my observation it appeared he cared about injustices to people in society, an attitude that fulfills the Second Commandment. I then asked him, "How are you doing with the First Commandment?" He responded by saying he was a lapsed Catholic.
Some of us may have lapsed into a behavior that has resulted in broken relationships between God and man. We make it right by repentance, tuning away from our words and deeds, getting back on the road with prayer, talking with the Lord, and I because everyone of us falls short, asking Him to point out to us where and what the transgression or sin might be...asking for forgiveness.
Often the result of our repentance will be the reconciliation and restoration of relationships that have fallen into disrepair and neglect. We need to take the initiative and ask for forgiveness, in person, by letter, fax or phone! Repairing the breach is the next step which sometimes is followed by restitution resulting in compensation for the loss, damage, or injury caused to others. Oftentimes this occurs in spontaneous joy because the lost hat has been found; the broken healed.
Now we are in a position to be raised up and to rule on our Lord's behalf as servants/leaders to a society that doesn't have solutions. This may even include reaming how to love our personal, ideological, political, and religious enemies, prayerfully making them friends at our own personal, prideful cost.
LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS
I've seen these principles exhibited in my own life and more recently, a new impetus has been demonstrated in the lives of others, particularly in spiritual and physical healing as we have had opportunity to pray and interact together. Some examples are a suicide that was diverted and a number of people being clothed and fed. This is a key to difficult times. It could be called "Ark Building." "Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble."(Psalm 41:1 ) That word poor also means poor in health and we have seen some remarkable examples:
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE
To answer the question posed at the outset, "Is the United States of America under the judgment of God?" In my opinion... yes. What we have seen to date is simply a foretaste of what is to come if, if we don't turn. And even with that, if I may be presumptuous, we are still going to go through a shaking. What emerges on the other side is going to be quite different from our present configuration of a so called "American Christian Nation." The choice could come down to God or Country, not God and Country.
Old things are passing away, everything will become new, the Kingdoms (governments) of this world will become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ (this is a process). Radical talk?...yes, but it will take a radical response to heal the disease in this nation that is nigh unto death. Band-Aids won't heal cancer! However, it is also a time for the church to rise up as an alternate society and demonstrate everything she is called to be in the earth.
"Arise, my people! Let your light shine for all the nations to see! For the glory of the Lord is streaming from you. Darkness as black as night shall cover all the peoples of the earth, but the glory of the Lord will shine from you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see the glory of the Lord upon you." (Isaiah 60:13)
My friend, singer-songwriter Phil Keaggy, stated in a song years ago, ''There is a Kingdom emerging and to me that is very encouraging." We must choose who we are going to serve. As for me and my household let it be said,"These people serve another King... Jesus!"
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.