We celebrate this Independence Day with some uneasiness. Our hearts are unsettled by concern that our nation has somehow lost her way. Culturally, morally and spiritually, we are drifting like a ship without an anchor. We are not sure where we are heading, but ships that drift tend to sink.
What if you were asked to list three sins that are pushing our nation off course? What character flaws, corrupt lifestyles or moral compromises are causing our moral and spiritual fibers to fray? Jot them down; if not on paper, at least in your mind.
Do you have three in mind?
Now, consider, are any of these three your sins? Over the years, I have noticed that when we make a list of the most grievous, hurtful sins we tend to list the sins of other people—the sins of Hollywood, not the heartland; the sins of the culture, not the church; the sins of my neighbor, not myself. How many of us listed materialism, divisiveness, racism or hypocrisy? Jesus exposed this tendency to minimize our own transgressions in the Sermon on the Mount.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:1-5).
The key to moral and spiritual influence is to be more critical of yourself than you are of other people.
Do you remember the voice of the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons? It was always garbled and indistinct. In many ways, that is what has become of the voice of the church in many communities across this nation. Oh we keep talking, but it seems like what most people are hearing is some form of, “Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah.” They have stopped listening to us.
Maybe they have stopped listening because we have so consistently done the opposite of what our Master taught us. We are more critical of others than we are of ourselves. We are vocal about the sins of the culture but silent concerning the sins of the church.
As we celebrate Independence Day and pray for revival in our nation, let me put the old B. B. McKinney song on your heart—this is the song the church must sing.
“Send a revival, O Christ, my Lord, let it go over the land and sea,
Send it according to Thy dear word, and let it begin in me.
Lord, send a revival, Lord, send a revival, Lord, send a revival, and let it begin in ME.”