Either We Do … Or We Don’t

Posted on by jtcopeiv

“But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”  If food doesn’t have salt or seasoning, it turns out pretty bland, and is only good to be thrown out.  Coincidentally, a nation with little morality turns out about the same. 

In America today we often hear comments about getting along, bipartisanship, compromising, and coexisting.  We are told to be tolerant, and non-judgmental.  Ignoring the fact that these instructions are extremely one sided today, the sentiments are noble ones.  Jesus taught us not to judge others “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  And yet it is hard to ignore Jesus’ comment about the need for saltiness, the need to be bold in spreading the Word of God in this world.  The real problem becomes that we have taken being nonjudgmental and compromising to a fault in our country; or even worse we use it as an excuse not to confront immorality when it is shoved in front of our face.  Do we feel pity for and forgive the man or woman caught in adultery, absolutely, but do we help them set up secret meetings with the person not their spouse?  Do we feel sympathy and even empathy for the thief trying to feed their family, without a doubt, but do we help them accost their next victim or hold up their next store?  Do we feel sorry for the adult child who spends all of their time, money, and efforts on frivolous ventures until they are penniless and friendless, of course, but do we continue to write checks for them or aid them in their soirees?  So why then do we justify ourselves that we are only being nonjudgmental or understanding when we support politicians, organizations, or laws, not that simply allow the individual to act as they so choose on a private level, but that condone their immoral actions on a national level? 

The crux of the matter here, I believe, is that most of us do not like confrontation, and we do not like other people meddling in our affairs.  This makes absolute sense to this author.  I’m not a fan of confrontation at all, and I really just want to be left alone to live my life the way I see fit.  There are at least two problems with this approach, however.  First, we aren’t talking on an individual private level these days, we are talking on a national public level.  Secondly, and more importantly, trouble that you know exists will never stay away for long.  At some point we have to take a stand, not against the individual acting as they choose in the privacy of their own life, but against the national conscious approving of that action and sanctioning it via law.  As an eighteen-year-old Lance Corporal once asked me, “Sir, my parents say they are against the war, but that they support, me.  How can they do both?”  And of course the answer is, they can’t.  You cannot support the actions of the individual, but then not support the national approval of those actions.  Inversely, you cannot support the national approval of a certain action, but then on a private level talk about how you really don’t approve of individuals who take part in those actions.   

This indecision, or lack of acceptance of our own actions shows itself brilliantly in a couple of examples.  First off it shows itself in the Christian faith.  Paul sums up this scenario best.  “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. … If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”  Either we believe that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, or we don’t.  This changes everything.  But do we act like it?  Do we smile, do we trust, do we help the poor and the widow and the orphan?  As a man once told me, “if you think it is going to rain … you take an umbrella with you.”  Secondly, we see this apparent indecision in our voting actions.  Abortion is a prime example.  As a Christian, God tells us “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart …” and again “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  It seems rather hard to imagine a situation other than when the life of both mother and babe are endangered where God would approve of killing the babe.  Yet, even though we talk about loving life and serving God, we wring our hands at the thought of voting in such a way as to take away a “right” of a woman.  Does the child have no right?  Why do we not wring our hands and worry about taking away the right of the baby?  What about the argument that it is access to abortion and the freedom to choose we are protecting, and not the actual act of abortion?  Well, I suppose this argument might have some merit, for we have access to many things which can be used by one adult to murder another.  No one is arrested for buying or owning gas, cars, knives, baseball bats, candlesticks, rope, or guns (not yet anyway), but the only time there are consequences is if the action of murder is actually carried out.  If this is the argument taken however, and we are protecting the right of someone to choose to have an abortion, but not the “right” of abortion, does that not mean that there should be consequences when the act of abortion is carried out?   

Generally, we can agree to disagree.  Some people like chocolate better; I prefer Sweettarts.  Some people like summer best; fall is my favorite.  Some people like year round school; I would rather have the long summer break (especially if it was a long winter break).  On moral issues, however, we have to decide one way or the other, we cannot simply agree to disagree.  If we do not take a stand for a moral issue, it is because we are cowardly, selfish, or we really do not believe in the morality of the issue.  You cannot be for taking money on a national level from one person’s pocket to give and put in the pocket of another person, and at the same time not be for theft on a personal level.  Well you can certainly claim that, but the argument doesn’t hold much water.  You cannot claim to be against abortion or murder, and yet vote to protect the right of a mother to kill her child with no ensuing criminal penalties.  You cannot claim to believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and then vote to make lawful the union of a man and a man or woman and woman.  You cannot claim to champion national sovereignty, and then vote against those things which would reduce unfettered criminal immigration.  And lastly you cannot claim to follow Jesus Christ and not serve Him as Lord of all.  As C.S. Lewis stated about Jesus, “Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Americans must individually decide to follow Jesus and his teachings as Lord and God, or we must reconcile ourselves to our beloved nation being dumped upon the pile of failed human experiments throughout the course of history. 

-JT Cope IV

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