Hatred and violence seem to run rampant in America. Many ask how we got to such a state.
The Word of God tells us to hate evil, and we should especially avoid evil in our own lives. But we must not hate people who are different from us, who disagree with us or who are trapped by evil tendencies and unwholesome lifestyles. It's fine to disagree and debate. Ongoing dialogue and discussions can be healthy. But as Bible-believing Christians, we are called to unwaveringly hold up the truth in love while standing against the hate-filled, deadly outbursts all around us.
I'm convinced the increase in hatred and violence is because people have moved far from the redemptive spirit found in Christ. The love of God gives us the ability to forgive and understand one another while holding true to our deep convictions with unwavering character.
Christians don't have to be vindictive, destructive and hateful. The Bible says if you say you love God but hate your brother or sister, you are still in darkness (1 John 2:9). No wonder the light is so dim.
Even wealth and success are under attack. Many preachers dare not mention the blessings of God or prosperity for fear they will be critically labeled a "prosperity preacher." We know there are excesses and extremes in every area, but doesn't the Bible talk about God's desire to bless us as His children? Don't all parents want the best and greatest blessings for their children?
God wants us to be so blessed that we become a blessing to the nations of the world. How can we alleviate suffering and help the poor if we don't have the resources to do it? Even those who foolishly believe in socialism must have some means of wealth from which to extract the money they wish to disburse.
Legend has it that as the founders signed the Constitution in 1787, Benjamin Franklin observed a painting on the wall in the room in which they had worked so hard to frame that historic document. "I have often ... in the course of the session ... looked at that sun behind the president without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now at length I have the happiness to know it is a rising and not a setting sun." It is hard these days not to wonder whether we are still seeing the sunrise or sunset when it comes to freedom as we know it in America.
Americans must experience a change of heart and mind—and it must come soon, or we will see the downfall of freedom and of this once-great nation. If we don't recognize this foolishness and the danger imposed by the hatred of success, blessings and prosperity, we will destroy our ability to meet any legitimate need—along with our future and that of our children.
It's not too late for us to turn the tide. We need to release God's love to the people around us, particularly to those with whom we disagree. Only then can compassion replace hatred and violence. We must boldly demonstrate God's power and especially His love and forgiveness in our nation.
Many will resonate with the essence of this message but are unsure how to respond as salt-and-light people in our present circumstances. Like Adam and Eve, we have been given a "garden" to tend with love and diligent oversight. Believers must stand together against the gates of hellish deception and destruction.
Tragically, for the last 200 years, the church has moved away from the importance of proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. Jesus spent significant time training His disciples to recognize that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand" and "is within you," commanding them to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to the ends of the earth. But most church leaders and members have become preoccupied with the kingdom to come rather than proclaiming the reality of the kingdom that has already come through Christ.
Believers have become preoccupied with getting "out of here" rather than getting "Him in here," into the hearts, minds and lives of those who must be born from above. We have been left here with a divine commission to be overseers of the garden of God. This begins with the believer's personal life, family, community, city, state and nation, and is proclaimed to the ends of the earth.
Let us pray fervently for a historic outpouring of the Holy Spirit on His church. It's not too late to renew our culture and restore proven principles. We can be the beginning of the sunrise of the next Great Awakening in America.
If we will stand boldly for His truth, live in a way that impacts others and demonstrate God's character and love, we can continue to be one nation, truly under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
JAMES ROBISON is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International and host of the daily television program LIFE Today (lifetoday.org). He is the author of the New York Times best-selling book Indivisible and numerous other books, including his latest release, Living Amazed. His website, The Stream (stream.org), presents breaking news, editorial commentary, inspiration and cultural analysis.
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