Recent events have tempted many preachers to trade biblically accurate protein, for morally superior language. It sounds tough and tender, but the huff and puff is mere fluff. Seeking politically correct street creds by serving up socially acceptable pabulum will not feed the soul. It only pours gasoline on a fire. Great rhetoric won’t satisfy the gnawing hunger in the soul of a nation. Biblical preaching will. Like a compass, it points people who have lost their way, back to God.
The Founders of our nation understood that freedom without virtue does not lead to liberty. Freedom without self-restraint breeds a culture of license. One British observer offers this insightful perspective on the crisis of this nation.
“Unfettered freedom could become the Achilles hill of the modern world, dissipating into license, triviality, corruption and a grand undermining of all authority…” Os Guinness, “A Free People’s Suiciide,”
People enter this world with a childish desire to have their every need met. They have an innate desire to exercise unchecked freedom of expression. There is no physical DNA in a child that leads to the involuntary maturation of their personal character. Children have to be taught to share, and to care for others. At the very heart of parenting is a parent at war with the heart of a rebel.
The unchecked freedom of a child’s heart leads to nothing less than granting to them a license to kill, steal and destroy. When no moral virtue exists in the heart of a parent or child, neither one will exercise self-restraint. This only happens…EVERY TIME.
For the past 50 years, the official, and steady removal of prayer, and Bible reading from the public square have pulled the loose string of moral virtue from the fabric of a Judeo-Christian culture. It has revealed what The Founders of this nation knew about the heart of man.
Freedom reveals more about the soul of this nation than anyone ever wanted to know. Like the peeling of the skin of an onion, there is nothing left now but the faint odor of what once was, and the tears in the eyes of concerned citizens weeping over the soul of their nation.
For more than a century, pastors have allowed the misguided, institutionalized mercy of political progressivism to take the high ground. Instead of providing life-changing answers to the needs of a nation, they have allowed it to be buried under an incomprehensible debt of $18 trillion.
Self-muzzled pastors, fearing the ire of the IRS, silenced their voices in the public square. No longer delivering a prophetic word from their pulpits, they diluted their message until they became spokesmen for one political party or one candidate or the other, rather than being the active cleansing agents of all.
The only guardians of sanity left in the streets are the cops on the beat. They have become the final enforcers of what passes for right and wrong in a culture that is determined to make wrong right and right wrong. Marginalizing this last line of defense will lead to chaos in any community. Rebellion is not a racial issue. It is a matter of the human heart. Without changed hearts under the skin, there is little hope of changed behavior, no matter what a person’s skin color may be.
Watching a man killed before your very eyes is disturbing at so many levels. It should be. The answer to such brutality will not be found in punishing or denigrating every policeman in the nation. Rationalizing brutality in the enforcement of law, or decriminalizing the behavior of the law-breaker will not lead to peace in the street. Both reveal the loss of a moral compass.
My first grade teacher gave me my initial taste of true social justice. When one person in the class did something wrong, Miss Hamm handled it on the local level. She did not threaten to send us all to the principal. She did not count to three, or put us in time out. She swiftly popped the seat of the perpetrator. She did not spank the whole class. She punished the culprit. Her swift response to right the wrong was a great lesson to us all because it was justice for all. Some things never change.
While pastoring for eight years on the edge of the hood, in a community deserted by those seeking refuge in the suburbs, I found myself being torched by a burning question. “How in the world do sweet, smiling children actively involved in school and church, become saber toothed thugs roaming the streets intent on stealing and destroying everything in sight?”
I discovered their behavior was not rooted in their poverty, or the result of a poor education. They were well fed, adequately clothed, and educated by tireless, and effective teachers. Their rebellion to authority was rooted in improper parenting. Their lack of respect for their authority figure at home led them to express even less respect for their teachers at school or the policemen on the street. As the rebellious children aged, their teeth sharpened and their bite worsened. In time, they devoured their neighborhood, and their own future.
My friend, Dr.Jay Strack introduced me to a profound statement. “Rules without relationship always lead to rebellion.” Where there is no genuine relationship with authority figures, the rules rarely lead to compliance. Where there is no respect for law, more laws do not change the rebel’s heart. More rules only increase the level of resentment in the heart of a rebel, and the number of policemen needed to enforce the rules.
Those who would lead us without a compass would have us believe that showing more empathy, tolerance, and understanding to rebels will transform them into model citizens. The Founders of this nation knew better. They feared the mob in America, more than the King of England.
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
President John Adams
The lack of parental supervision of and accountability over children has the power to turn a good kid into a thief. The removal of consequences to rebellious behavior only makes a bad kid worse.
The sad truth on the street and in Washington D.C is this. Crime does pay. What the leaders do in moderation, the people will do in excess. Unrestricted license to spend and the unbridled printing of money on the federal level is theft on a grand scale. When elected leaders rob from the public purse, they become the foster parents of every street thief in this nation.
Using the behavior of a rogue cop to marginalize every policeman, and seizing on the death of a street thug to canonize a martyr for social justice have one thing in common. They both reveal a clear lack of moral virtue that comes with the loss of a moral compass.
Without a moral compass the course is clear. This nation will reach the point of no return. The laws of the land must be enforced with a concern for human life, of any color. Violators may be the policeman on the beat, a thug on the street, or the abortionist hiding behind a judge. If they take a life, they should be held accountable for their behavior.
All lives matter. No matter the color, and no matter where they live, all lives matter. When the perpetrator of a crime becomes a victim of their own rebellion, they deserve the consequences of their behavior, not protection from it, or sainthood for it.
The moral compass of this nation must be reset, one heart at a time. Without a Great Awakening there is no hope of getting any nation back on course. It is not time to take our nation back. It is time to find our way back to God. The Father still hears the prayers of His children, and He can heal their land. Pastor, take out your compass, and lead the way to Him. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!
Dr. Gary and Dana L. Miller