Every four years we and our countrymen elect government officials to lead our nation, state, and local municipalities for the next 2-4 years (depending on the office). If I had to guess, I would suspect that most of you reading this are probably disappointed in the nature of our national campaigns and the mudslinging and personal attacks that characterize politics today. But in actuality, it is nothing new.
History tells us that our nation once elected a man who garnered 39% of the popular vote – the smallest percentage ever for a winning candidate. And if that wasn’t enough, when the same man ran for re-election four years later, he stuffed the ballot box in a critical swing state by exhorting his military leaders to give soldiers leave from their stations on election day. The result was that thousands of soldiers from various states all descended on the state of Indiana and voted – quite illegally – to re-elect the president, sweeping him to an electoral victory with this critical state.
So while you may find distasteful the nature of modern campaigns, just remember that Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, et. al., have nothing on Abraham Lincoln.
But therein lies a more telling assessment of our country’s state. America is no different than any other great nation-state before it, because America is made up of human beings, who are quite unexceptional when it comes to the foundation of a thriving civilization: holy living.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what causes great nation-states to fail. Anyone halfway acquainted with the great civilizations of history can see very clearly what brought down these cultures: they crumbled from within. Lack of moral fiber, emphasis on indulgence and entertainment, economic systems destructive to basic human motivations, and other factors that in sum point to a very clear reason why humans – individually and collectively – fail: rejection of divine instruction. We simply don’t want to do what God says.
It is almost comical – if it weren’t so tragic – to listen to politicians talk about the “answers to our national problems.” There is the belief that if we can only solve our economic issues, raise/lower taxes, legislate behavior, or appoint jurists with certain persuasions, that suddenly our country will turn around, mid-stream, the seas will be calmed, the storms will be stopped, everyone will have work, all our social ills will be solved, and every mother’s son will sleep peacefully tonight.
The truth of the matter is that our nation will fail just like every nation before it, and for the same reasons. As a country we have become drunk on our success and material wealth. We have convinced ourselves of our “right” to all of these privileges, without stopping to consider the origin of such blessings. And one could argue logically that these blessings are more of a curse in disguise because of the lengths we go to obtain/keep what we have.
The answer to our problems as a country is the same answer as that to our personal ills: we need God. Electing political officials who are “conservative” or “liberal,” or who make ridiculous promises of what they believe can be accomplished in the face of an overwhelming tide of self-indulgence, greed, selfishness, and immoral behavior is about as useless as believing that the “right preacher” will cause a congregation of God’s people to suddenly about-face. It just doesn’t happen, because the wildcard in the equation is the human factor.
So, let’s stop with all the hand-wringing about the political culture, and start thinking about the religious and moral culture that is disintegrating right before our eyes. Politicians do not have the answer to this cultural decay. But God does! The answers to all our problems, as individuals, and thus as a nation, are clearly found with the Great Physician. If we are to effect any kind of positive change to a sick and dying world, it will be through our efforts at sharing the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, with one person at a time.
May grace reign in your life through righteousness.
– Bo Couchman