Abraham Lincoln, in one of his messages to the nation, spoke words of deep concern which have a contemporary ring to them:
“We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these things were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own….Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have a become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and persevering grace, too proud to pray to the God who made us.”
I have found it amazing that of all the issues being addressed in Washington that affect our nation, the one both Republicans and Democrats agree on is this: our nation is in serious moral and ethical decline. There was a time, not very long ago, when you couldn’t even get the subject of morals or ethics on the table for discussion, let alone have both parties in agreement on the bottom line. Such is the seriousness of the troubles that fill our streets with drive-by shootings and tax the abilities of our prison system simply to house the criminals we produce. What has gone wrong with our great “experiment in liberty”? Why has the land of the free and the home of the brave become the place of the polluted? Why are people in every city and hamlet from coast to coast afraid to go out alone at night? Mr. Lincoln had the answer to that. But it is more than a moral and ethical problem. As long as we continue to distance ourselves from any tendency toward respect, praise, obedience or commitment to the God who made our experiment in liberty possible, we will all end up becoming the slaves of our own greed, desire and arrogance. If we learn nothing else from the Old Testament, we can at least learn this: any nation that tried to make a go of it without God has ended up in the trash heap of history.
We will continue to hear more about morals and ethics from our leaders in Washington. Our hope is that Christians will be welcomed to this ongoing debate. But whether we are or are not listened to we must understand and live out the fact that morals and ethics do not stand alone. They proceed from the Spirit—a life of involvement with the God who made us all.
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship