An Open Letter to the United States of America:
To our leaders: We Americans so appreciate your sacrifice, time and commitment. I'm convinced that most of you are sincere and want what is best for all Americans. I am not writing this as a Democrat or a Republican but as a citizen.
As a child, I was captured by the stories my grandfather told about life on the farm in Oklahoma in the mid-1900s. The images I've held are those of 12-hour days spent working the land, dust storms that could devastate a crop, blistered and sunburned skin, and poverty unlike most Americans know today. Life in general was harder then, but interestingly enough, character seemed much stronger. It was a time when commitment, integrity and honesty stood in place of contracts, disclosures and bylaws.
The atrocious demeanor of our elected officials must stop—from expletive-filled language and death threats toward our president to the total lack of humility in governmental offices. Our arrogance has reached a new level—calling evil good and good evil. We turn a blind eye to sexual sin and wink at pedophilia. Recently, a photo posted to Instagram showed a 10-year-old Canadian boy who was featured on network and cable news shows as "Lactatia" posing next to a naked man who was the most recent winner of RuPaul's Drag Race.
Where is the outrage? America, your silence is deafening! Yet we have a mental breakdown when a border wall is being considered. We protect LGBT rights but murder innocent babies in the womb. We encourage children to switch genders, but not to turn to God—the only true source of hope for our nation. (Listen to a short clip here.) Our schools resemble battlegrounds, and our families remain shattered while churches stay silent. It appears that pastors would rather cave in than fight, tickle the ear rather than challenge the heart. Our pride will be our downfall. Are we striving to be pleasers of men or men of God?
What kind of nation do we live in where a newly elected congresswoman can Tweet "Impeach the [expletive]" about our president? To say that I, and countless Americans, were embarrassed is an understatement. Freedom of speech comes with moral responsibility. Many of our leaders need to look in the mirror and repent or resign. Although many disagreed with Mr. Obama's policies, most held his position in high regard. This type of behavior from a congressman (or woman) would never have been allowed a few years ago.
We were excited that our nation finally elected a black man to the highest office. But please stop making this about race—race has nothing to do with it; principle does. For example, many Americans were encouraged when Virginia recently elected a future leader to the House of Delegates—a young black man named Caleb Hanna. He recognizes that "righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Prov. 14:34). America must fear God again.
Daniel Webster rightly noted: "There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence."
While we are concerned with terrorist attacks, and rightly so, there is a greater threat from corruption within. We, like the mighty empires that collapsed centuries ago, are crumbling from within. There are people and groups who are strongly committed to the destruction of anything rooted in God's Word. They attempt to be "one nation 'above' God," rather than "one nation 'under' God." Scripture identifies this as foolishness, self-exaltation and arrogance—the downfall of nations.
Although this position may seem radical or extreme, we are living in extremely radical times. Make no mistake about it: we are witnessing the rapid deterioration of a nation right before our eyes. But there is hope—2 Chronicles 7:14 calls out from the past with resounding clarity to America today: If My people will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land.
Mr. President, lead the way; many will follow. Your greatest asset will be humility and words that build unity. Be a champion of both parties, honoring and respectful, regardless of how others act. Senators and congressmen, humble yourselves as well. America needs broken leaders, not arrogant politicians.
To our citizens: As the moral and cultural war rages between our shores, the need to be awakened from our spiritual slumber has never been greater. "Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is tested" (Martin Luther). This battle is for the very soul of our nation. It's our choice—stand or fall.
We must respond with humility and repent of our sins. We must be grateful and thankful, even in California, where we are blessed beyond measure. We must return to prayer, real prayer that shakes heaven. Sadly, our gun safes are full, but our prayer closets are empty. God help us. Carnal Christians give God "His due"—a few hours on Sunday. They think the things of the world are exciting, and the things of God are dull. The love of this world and the praise of men have drawn a large section of Christendom away from God, hence the great moral divide.
There are times to encourage, motivate and uplift, but there are also times to confront, challenge and contend for what is right—that time is now. Let it not be said of us today: "And after them grew up a generation who did not know the Lord" (Judges 2:10b).
Awake from your slumber; today we fight. Listen to more here.
Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California. More can be found at ShaneIdleman.com, and free downloads of his books are available at WCFAV.org. Visit him on Facebook and subscribe to his new podcast.
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