Sadly, the United States went through a lot during a week in which a day has been set aside to celebrate our country. As I watched the news surrounding the different events that took place, all the feelings of joy and pride I had on Monday, quickly became feelings of deep sorrow for our country, followed by feelings of shame and disgrace. During times like this, it is obvious from the news, Facebook, and other social media, that many people are looking for who they can point their finger at, for allowing things to get to this point in our country. Many of these same people are also looking for who they can point their finger at for the responsibility of changing the overall direction that our country is heading in – a direction of further violence, immorality, deceit, uncertainty, lack of respect for human life (baby lives, black lives, white lives, etc.).
The government seems like the first, and most logical place for people to point to, but unfortunately it is not the right place. Another group of people that have been getting a lot of fingers pointed at them is law enforcement, but they aren’t the right recipients, either. While I am thankful for, and recognize the need of both the government and law enforcement in this country, we cannot blame either of them for where our country is presently, nor can we place our hope in either of them for changing the direction in which this country is heading. The reason for that is the role of our government and law enforcement is to legislate and enforce that legislation. While both of these tasks are needed, the best result that legislation and the enforcement of it can bring to our country, is a sense of control to the violence, immorality, deceit, and uncertainty. And control is a far cry from change. Control is an ongoing battle, while change is a one time event.
More than anything else, our country needs some changes to take place. Changes not just of behavior and thought patterns, but deeper than that. Changes of the heart– because when someone’s heart is changed, so is everything else. And the only source where true heart change can be found is through Christ. Because of Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, He and He alone is capable of bringing transformation to person’s life – whether that person is violent, immoral, or deceitful. The apostle Paul describes Christ’s power to change this way in II Corinthians, chapter 5, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Our country needs more and more people to experience the transformation of becoming a new creation, and the government can’t make that happen, and neither can law enforcement. Only Christ can bring about that needed change.
In light of this, if we really want to point a finger at who is responsible for allowing things to get to this point in our country and for changing the overall direction that our country is heading in, than the right place would be the church. God has called, and is using the church (all Christ-followers) to be a witnessing agent concerning the transforming power of Christ. Therefore, our country is where it is, because of the poor witnessing efforts of the church to people who desperately need to be changed. And the only way to change the direction our country is heading in is if the church does a better job at its witnessing efforts of Christ’s amazing power to transform and change.
Unfortunately we cannot go back and change the past, but we can certainly do something about the present and future. We can be a witness to the Source of change that so many people need. We can pray for those in our lives that need transformation, and that God would give us the courage to share with them where they can find transformation and lasting change in their life. We can invest in the lives of those around us who need transformation, looking for opportunities to serve and practically share the love of Christ with them. We can invite those around us who need transformation, to hear about the Source of transformation by inviting them to church, or to read a book, or to hear your transformation story.