I believe the Unites States of America is truly one of the greatest civilizations in the history of mankind. As a nation it has contributed to the safety, security, and prosperity of not just itself but most of the world through the innovation and generosity of its citizens and the socio-economic and political example of its government. This is not to say that it is perfect.
America has a problem. It’s a problem that’s been there since its very beginning. It’s like a congenital birth defect—a problem that is rooted in the very DNA of the nation: Violence.
It was violent resistance that brought our nation into existence. It was violent oppression against Native American that fueled its expansion. It was violent and bloody war that ended the violent and dehumanizing practice of slavery. Violence against the family through abortion and divorce has been a means of economic gain for many. The option of resulting to violent means to address and solve whatever problems we face is a very real and present solution for too many.
Today as I’ve read and watch the coverage of the shooting of Dallas police officers in the wake of protests of police in Louisiana and Minnesota shooting black men I cannot help but see this same disease of violence wreaking havoc on our nation again.
This disease is not caused by economic disparity. It is not the result of racism. It is not political. These are only symptoms. Our nation suffers from a spiritual disease, our soul is sick. There is a cure, but many don’t want it, they’re too content to profit from the symptoms.
The Old Testament (2 Kings 5) tells the story of Naaman, the commander of the armies of Syria. He was stricken with leprosy and the king of Syria sent him with an entire entourage, gold, silver, and riches to seek healing from the God of Israel. The prophet Elisha sent a message to Naaman to wash in the Jordan River. When he received the message Naaman at first was insulted and refused to even consider the idea of washing in some puny Israelite river. It was then that his servant asked him if he would have done some great and heroic deed if that was what the prophet requested, and if so, then why not do this simple thing? Naaman relented, washed in the Jordan, and was healed of his leprosy.
Like Naaman our culture is suffering from a fatal disease that is slowly, yet progressively eating us alive. We have become a culture of death embracing every form of immorality and ridiculing the virtuous life. Pundits and politicians and every other sort of talking head will discuss the recent acts of violence, just as they did after the Orlando shooting, and they’ll search for motives. They will propose all sorts of ideas, programs and laws to act as a medicine to heal our land. Like Naaman, they will recommend buying a cure with millions of dollars in new programs and initiatives. They will want to do many great things, but they will shun and ridicule the one simple, and only real cure, Jesus.
The only escape from the death spiral our nation finds itself in is to turn to the Lord of Life to rescue us from the culture of death. The only true antidote to hate, racism, and fear is love. The only light in darkness is the Light of World, and the challenge to the Church is to bring that light and that love to others. We must rise above the Balkanizing efforts to divide along political, racial, or economic lines and fully demonstrate to the world the unity of being in Christ Jesus.
Unfortunately, this will come at a price. It is the medicine our world needs, but not what it wants. Like a petulant child it will fight and kick and scream against us. It will resist with the hope that we will give up. We must be faithful and selfless. We must be willing to love as Jesus loved, even to the point of laying down our lives for the love of others.