With the election over, it’s time to gather ourselves and continue praying for the leadership of this nation. Even though I disagree, at a fundamental level, about what our president believes is right for the country in many areas, he is in a position of great authority and responsibility and I’m honored to pray for him. And I hope that God will bless him with wisdom, discernment, and courage to make decisions that will benefit the people of our country. So let’s talk about that…
This election reveals a fracture line running through our nation, one that is primarily about doctrine. At a foundational level, we all believe something… we all make value judgments. What is to be esteemed? What is to be despised? What is worthy of our affection? What should we fight for and give our time and energy to? That’s doctrine – what we believe. And the collective doctrine of US citizens is widely divergent on many issues from immigration to religious liberty. And it’s important because what we believe deeply affects people, and all people are valuable because each of us is created in God’s image. The beliefs that we hold influence the outcomes of lives. Many babies will be killed because of wrong doctrine. Many people will be enslaved to poverty because of wrong doctrine. Many Christians will be persecuted and discriminated against because of wrong doctrine. The integrity of marriage is jeopardized by wrong doctrine. But who am I to make those assessments, right?
Ultimately, there is a measuring stick for what we believe. How else can we call something crooked unless we know what is straight? Is culture our measuring stick? Is it my own personal beliefs and experiences that define the measuring stick? Is a group of people at a certain time in history the measuring stick? As a Christian, I believe the measuring stick is clearly defined and revealed in the Bible by the one true God who made all things and determined what is crooked and what is straight. Just as a watchmaker knows what makes his watch tick, God knows what will enable us to flourish as humans. He is the One who brought us into existence by a single word. When it all began, He called it good. He determined what was of value and brought it into existence. He laid down the measuring stick. Ultimately, I don’t have the corner on what’s good and what’s evil, what’s lovely and what’s ugly, what’s honorable and what’s horrible. Neither does culture, neither does anyone reading this. But God does, so we must look to him and what he has said to us in the Scriptures if we truly care about people. And when we recognize crookedness in our own hearts, consider it a gift that He designed to lead you to forgiveness. It’s a forgiveness that He designed out of love for a broken humanity that had chosen to rebel against what He called good, exchanging truth for lies and beauty for immorality. Most importantly, it’s a forgiveness that comes only through trusting in one man’s death in place of our own… Jesus Christ, God in human flesh (Acts 4:12). Yes, when it comes down to it, every political party, every organization, every culture, every individual is crooked in some way. We each know that. As God tells us through the prophet Isaiah, “we like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; the Lord has laid on him (Jesus) the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus took on the wrath of God that we have spent all our lives earning…we’ve worked really really hard to earn our sentence. But God demonstrated an incredible love for us by sending Jesus to die in our place even when he knew we would all one day be born and rebel against him.
In the end, it’s not any one side of any culture war that moved God to nail His Son to a wooden stake. Jesus came for guilty sinners, each and every one of us, out of compassion and mercy. “Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the Lord, but those of blameless ways are his delight” (Proverbs 11:20). Through Christ, crooked hearts become blameless and we can begin to see what true human flourishing is all about, delighting in the things God, the Grand Designer, delights in and hating the things He hates. We can begin to see what is of true value and pray that the leadership of our country will see that as well.