A couple of weeks ago we celebrated our nation’s Day of Independence. That was 246 years ago. In many ways it was truly a wonderful day. If you go back to that time and look at our nation you can see that many things needed to be addressed, but with our independence as a nation we would be free to address those issues.
Contrary to what some people say, the founding principles and documents of this great nation were crafted so that as issues were brought up there would be legal recourse to address those issues. Granted there will always be issues to address, I praise God our founding fathers were wise enough to put together a constitution that enables us to correct those issues as they are brought up.
So beyond question this is a great nation, and we are blessed to live in this nation. That greatness is attested by the fact that so many people from around the world desire greatly to be a part of this nation.
But – freedom has its cost. I am not talking about those who have sacrificed themselves in service to this nation, both to gain and to maintain our freedoms. To them I am forever grateful. No, I am talking about the freedom that evil exploits in our nation. If you have not thought about it, the freedom for you to do what you enjoy – hopefully things that are moral – is also a freedom for many to do things that are evil and immoral. In this fallen world we should expect nothing different.
This is certainly not something our founding fathers intended to occur, but it is something they recognized could and would occur. You can make laws that can restrict and slow down evil, but evil will make use of freedom to do what it is – evil.
As we have heard so many times, the only thing evil needs to succeed is for otherwise good people to do nothing. So often, whether it is regarding the safety of our children in our schools, or the sanctity of marriage in our civil liberties, or the protection of our precious unborn, evil finds a way to manipulate the freedom that is meant for good to be used for degenerate and utterly evil schemes.
That is why increasingly Christians need to step up in our nation and rally for what is good, and to speak out against what is evil. Certainly this can be hard to do, in fact it is increasingly difficult because so many people have bought into the lies that are abounding in our society today, and therefore you can be ridiculed or ostracized or even attacked for standing against the evil that is increasingly labeled as “normal.”
But we need to realize this is nothing new. In Jesus’ day the sanctimonious religious leaders were so rabid about what they wanted or demanded of others that if you did not go along with their “talking points” and activities you were banned from their form of social media – you were kicked out of the synagogues.
You might think, “big deal,” but that is where most all of the social interaction took place, and unless you lived near Jerusalem you couldn’t participate in religious activities. And since that is pretty much what everyone and everything revolved around, that was truly a BIG DEAL. It could even affect your employment.
But Jesus was willing to speak out against what was “popular;” in fact what had become ingrained into the very fabric of society. And what we are facing regarding speaking out against what is wrong, against what is trying desperately to take over much if not all of our society, is becoming more and more a challenge, one that can have consequences, but it must be done.
Some people are being banned from social media for speaking out against the high-jacking of the God-appointed sanctity of marriage. Some people are banned from school board meetings for speaking up about the attempts by evil groups to indoctrinate their children. And some people find themselves being publicly ridiculed, even attacked, if they try to stand against the killing of innocent unborn children.
We must speak truth in love, and be godly in the way we take a stand for what God’s Word says is right, but we must do it. Peter and John took a godly stand, and simply told the leaders they would not stop speaking about Jesus, and they were beaten for it; eventually Peter was killed because he refused to capitulate. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were thrown into a furnace because they wouldn’t bow down to the popular lies of the day.
We live in a culture wherein many are taught you should not be confrontational, but God makes it very clear in so many places in Scripture that we are to be bold, we are to stand up again the evil of the day, we are to strive to save those who are being drug away to slaughter – literally or figuratively – and that if we don’t, God will definitely hold us accountable.
I don’t claim to know, but I will not be surprised to discover that God is allowing what is occurring in our nation for two reasons: first, as accountability for our silence of the past regarding evil, and second, to give us another opportunity to stand up against the evil and the lies that abound today.
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather be mistreated by others for doing what is right than to be held accountable by God for ignoring the evils of my day.
Jon McCartney is pastor of First Baptist Church of Tooele.