Editor’s note: “Matters of faith” is a column that provides local religious leaders a place to write about how their respective faiths provide hope, courage and strength in these modern times.
Do the things our nation’s leaders do influence the way in which we live our lives? They not only influence, they affect what people choose to do.
Hypocrisy didn’t begin with the Obama administration, but hypocrisy has become so unapologetically apparent that I believe it is noticeably affecting our society. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder not only openly states what laws he will obey or ignore, but he’s also made it clear he will undermine a state’s sovereign rights if he feels like it.
In fact, he has told the attorney generals of the U.S. they should ignore any law they “feel” is wrong, even though all of those women and men have taken oaths to support those laws. Holder seems to believe such boldness reveals integrity.
The bureaucracy has caught on quickly. In Colorado, a court clerk has been issuing unauthorized marriage licenses to gay couples because the clerk “felt” that the law was wrong. Even though the order not to do so was clear, she continued her actions. Why? She would say she had “a moral duty.” I believe she was simply imitating what she has seen going on openly for several years by our nation’s leaders.
The truth is, disrespect for law has been going on for years, but I fear it will get noticeably worse, especially with our leaders’ new-found courage to ignore law.
In what way does this affect us daily? How many times have you seen people park in emergency zones in front of stores? They appear content and unconcerned about what they’re doing.
How many times have you seen people stop in the middle of your driving lane on a main artery, such as 400 North, and lean out the window to talk with someone going the other way? They seem unconcerned that others have to stop behind them, until someone finally honks, only to receive a rude response from the hand or mouth of the inconsiderate driver.
Whether it’s parking in red zones, or crosswalks, bragging about cheating on taxes, or doing the things mentioned above, most of you know that people do these things, and you likely ask yourself, “How is it that they don’t see how wrong that is?”
Sometimes these things lead to nothing, but sometimes a blind person is put in jeopardy, when blocked by a car parked in a crosswalk. Sometimes an emergency vehicle is delayed when it cannot pull up where it needs to in an emergency, because some person has parked in the emergency zone. The delay may only cost them seconds, but those seconds may be costly to the victim waiting for their potentially lifesaving efforts. In such events, the loss can be irreparable.
I point out these everyday issues, issues you may complain about, to hopefully make us more sensitive to the charges God makes against us — that of acting as if we also have the right to choose to ignore his laws whenever we want. Just as many feel they should be allowed to break man’s laws when it suits them, so we tend to think we should be allowed to break God’s laws when it suits us.
I do not know if a study has been done on the parallels of civil law disrespect and moral law disrespect, but I firmly believe if one was done, it would show that the more disregards a society shows toward man’s laws, a corresponding disregard of God’s moral laws follows the same trend.
Why does this matter? I believe such societal tendencies increase the hardness of the heart, making us more and more resistant to the voice of God to repent, and turn away from sin. The more we observe such things around us, the more we are emboldened to move through life doing what we want, as we want, living as if we are “Special People,” when the truth of it is, we are not. The truth is: We are accountable for our actions.
Every once in a while someone doing these things is shocked when they get in trouble for it. They wonder why, since they’ve done it for years, like so many others. Maybe they can clean up the mess they have made breaking the law, maybe they can’t. That could be a problem.
The bigger problem is we can’t do anything about the sins we have committed as we go through life in selfish rebellion to the ways and will of God. Oh sure, we can tell God we’re sorry, and hope He accepts that, but we can’t do anything about the mess we’ve caused.
We can’t, but God can. In fact, God has done what is necessary in order to “pay for our wrongs,” if we are willing to completely trust him. That’s why Christ lived, died, and rose from the dead for you, so that he could clean you up from the filth of your sins against him.
Many in the world, including leaders, tell you that you have the right to choose which laws to obey. God does not agree. He says his ways are non-negotiable. But he does allow for a mediator — if you are willing to repent, and put your faith and trust in him.
His name is Jesus.
McCartney is pastor of First Baptist Church of Tooele.