FAITH: HOPE FOR TODAY: The root of America’s rising division
Published 12:43 pm Monday, October 25, 2021
By Clint Decker
Clay Center, Kansas –The Scripture says, “For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one . . .” (Romans 3:9-10)
It seems like we are no longer living in the United States of America, but in a different country that goes by a new name, the Divided States of America. There has always been division between our major political parties, but it is at a level that has not been seen in generations, and even within the parties themselves. Beyond politics there is a burgeoning racial division unfolding before us between blacks and whites. In the battle against Covid-19, there is division between pro-maskers and no-maskers, pro-vaccination and no-vaccination. The list of examples could go on, highlighting deep divides among us. And these are not just casual differences, but aggressive, passionate, and angry differences.
Where is this coming from and what is the answer for our divided nation?
When the Scripture says “both Jews and Greeks”, it is referring to all humanity. When it says “under sin”, it refers to the authority and power of sin. Summary: every one of us is under the control of sin, and sin is a violation of God’s moral laws. When we deceive, are bitter toward others, engage in violent acts, wish harm upon someone, engage in speech or behavior that creates ruin and misery, we are offering up tangible evidence of the control sin has upon us. And what does it produce? Peace? No! When someone is under the authority and power of sin, they leave a trail of division and destruction wherever they go. They have no peace with God, nor with others.
In spite of our passionate differences, there is one thing we have in common, all of us are held captive by sin within us. That is our common problem and enemy.
What is the answer? How can we survive as a society? If we can agree what the root of the problem is, that leads us toward what the answer is and is not. Laws, education, peace accords and other efforts all have their place and can provide temporary help, but cannot give lasting peace. Our division is a spiritual problem and requires a spiritual answer.
The Scripture says, “. . . the righteousness of God has been manifested . . . through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Rom. 3:21-22). There is our answer. The righteousness of God is all the rightness, goodness, beauty, perfection and wonder of God. And it is all found in the person of Jesus. When someone leaves behind their divisive and deceitful ways and pursues Jesus, he receives within himself the righteousness of God and all he needs to begin breaking down the walls of division through living at peace with God, himself and others.
What are some of the godly character traits we need to live in peace with one another? We need humbleness instead of arrogance, forgiveness instead of bitterness and gentleness instead of harshness. Where does humility, being forgiving and gentle with one another come from? Jesus. He is the embodiment of these. When Christ is in you, these are in you and live through you, as you walk in faithful obedience to Him.
America, Christ in us, Christ through us is the only pathway to true and lasting peace from our inner cities to our most rural ones. When we come to Him on His terms and follow His ways, He will end the division in our nation. If we do not choose it now, but put it off, then our nation will face His awful judgment in the future. The division we are seeing has been the predictable result of the sin our nation has been living in. The longer we wait, the more severe the consequences of our sin and the judgment of God will be. Time is of the essence. Quickly, one by one, we must humble ourselves in the fear of God and call upon Him for mercy for our own souls and the soul of our nation.
A prayer for you – “Lord God, I pray against the rising divisions within our nation and for the people and groups on both sides of numerous issues. May you and your truth be lifted up and people come together and agree to live according to your ways. Help us not to return evil for evil, but to walk in a spirit of humility, forgiveness and gentleness by your power. In Jesus name. Amen.”