Our nation feels incredibly polarized and tenuous these days. The current political climate promotes feelings of fear, scarcity, helplessness, arrogance, outrage, and a whole lot of head shaking.
As I scan my feeds, I see many opinions as well as a whole lot of people asking themselves, “Is this for real? What choice do we really have? Can we have a do over?” With what seems to be our only two options, many are wondering what happened.
How did we get here?
Any time the state of affairs gets to the point where we start asking this question, we must know that it never came overnight. It doesn’t even happen in a week or two. It can be years or decades of little things which add up to one colossal mess and we find ourselves scratching our heads.
Whether it’s how a government is run, the health of a local church, or the state of our personal relationships and circumstances, hundreds and thousands of decisions happen along the way to impact the way they are.
We tend to look at the current state of things and believe it all snuck up on us somehow.
Where sin is involved, it didn’t.
A child who is never taught self-control or properly disciplined. They are given whatever they want and parents wonder how they turned out to be so selfish, mean, and ungrateful. Or, why they won’t leave home and live independently.
Another child is parented through the lens of legalism and refuses to believe there could be anything good about God because all they know is a tyrant.
An employee begins with a little embellishment here and there and before they know it they have been fired or imprisoned for unethical behaviors.
A night of boredom leads to viewing pornographic images with increasing frequency. Frustrations and anxiety lead to consuming progressively more alcohol. In both cases, an addiction is born.
Two people begin spending more time together while entrusting greater levels of intimate life details. They say the affair “just happened”.
What if we took a step back to consider what subtle trends might be affecting each of us over time? What if, in this time of national upheaval, we paused from all of our opinion sharing, name calling, and blaming to become more self-aware?
We would benefit from taking the time and effort to consider.
How might we notice where our own lives bear the effects of long term sins? In what ways do our choices each day impact our live as a whole?
We could have a profound, collective impact for good if we considered where we personally need more of God.
Jealousy. Unforgiveness. Bitterness. Gossip. Unresolved anger. Judgments. They not only linger, but build and become progressively destructive internally, no matter how much we put on our masks and deny their presence.
Somewhere along the way, when a seemingly innocent small decision is not rooted in the truth of God, it claws in deep and tends to multiply in perpetuity. At first a little. Then, just a little more.
We rationalize our behaviors. Minimize the effects of our actions. Assume we must be “better than”, because our sin isn’t so bad and overall we’re a “good person.” We try to ignore what we do wrong and pretend it never happened, then we fool ourselves into believing we’ll never have to deal with it.
This is how hearts become hardened. How so-called followers of Christ end up following only self-centered desires. This is how sin penetrates and we allow it do so.
If we aren’t paying attention along the way, we won’t realize when the state of our soul becomes vastly different than what we set out to establish.
Do any of us choose to become hard-hearted and indifferent to others? Yet…
We unwittingly allow the devil more territory in our hearts by assuming we’re not infected when we are.
This November, Americans will be faced with an opportunity to explore their hearts and determine on what basis they will make a decision. We will consider how we are going to vote and why we would vote this way, or not at all.
I see a nation in great need of considering the question, “How did we get here?”
I hope we will also ask, “What small step can I take today to make a difference in my own life and in the lives around me?”
Even if it doesn’t change the outcome of our land, our self-awareness could be the catalyst for incredible change within the land.
[tweetthis]Our awareness could be the catalyst for incredible change within the land.[/tweetthis]
[tweetthis]We unwittingly allow the devil more territory in our hearts by assuming we are not infected when we are.[/tweetthis]