The other day I read a resolution that was passed by the United States Senate:
Resolved, That devoutly recognizing the supreme authority and just government of Almighty God in all the affairs of men and of nations, and sincerely believing that no people, however great in numbers and resources, or however strong in the justice of their cause, can prosper without His favor, and at the same time deploring the national offenses which have provoked His Righteous judgment, yet encouraged in this day of trouble by the assurance of His Word, to seek Him for succor according to His appointed way, through Jesus Christ, the Senate of the United States do hereby request the President of the United States, by his proclamation, to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation.
There’s one thing I should point out, however: This resolution was passed on March 3, 1863.
Can you imagine if such a resolution were passed today? We don’t hear phrases like “according to His appointed way, through Jesus Christ” anymore. But the faith of our Founding Fathers is clear.
Abraham Lincoln made this statement when he saw the social ills of the country: “We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become to self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”
How true Honest Abe was. How right he was. And if this was true in his lifetime, how much more true it is of our culture today. We have forgotten God. We have thrown him out of the classroom. We have thrown him out of the courtroom. And we have done our best to throw him out of modern culture. God does not exist in the world of television sitcoms and movies for the most part. And when Christians are portrayed, they are usually portrayed as buffoons or fanatics or even crazed people.
For years we have seen the chipping away of the American family. And in its present state, we have seen the disabling effect it has had on our society as a whole. Most of the social ills today, including drug abuse, gang activity and violent crime, can be directly traced to the breakdown of the family. This has been shown time and time again by exhaustive research and studies.
Yet we live in a time when our culture doesn’t even think of marriage as a permanent thing. We just trade in our marital problems like used cars and think nothing of it. While my generation, the baby boomers, were out trying to get in touch with their inner child and build up their self-esteem, they neglected their own children. And in many cases as they sought their own happiness, trying to find themselves, their children got lost in the shuffle. Experts have concluded that the dramatic outbreak of things such as gang problems and violent crime are directly linked to the breakdown of the American family. It has been said the family can survive with a nation, but the nation cannot survive without the family.
Sociologist Robert Nisbet wrote, “The ideologies which gained entry into the academy in the ’60s claimed that fundamental, intellectual principles of Western culture were illegitimate and must be overthrown. With that destroyed, terms like truth, good, evil and soul could be discarded.” And they were. Moral relativism is the rule of the day. There is no truth, there is no evil, there is no right, there is no wrong. And America is reaping what it has sown.
What are we going to do? How will we change this? How will we turn things back?
These are all symptoms of a deeper problem. Practically put, it is sin. It is sin’s effect that we are seeing all around us because we don’t have a set of absolutes concerning morality, honesty, and right and wrong. We live in a time of amazing contradictions. We have been so careful to arm ourselves to the teeth and arm against the enemy on the outside that we have forgotten the enemy on the inside. And we have missed one of the most important blessings of history.
Historian Will Durant, in his book “Caesar and Christ,” spoke of the fall of Rome. He wrote, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within. The essential causes of Rome’s decline lay in her people, her morals.”
We are rotting from within. How will we solve this dilemma? Let me say this. Politicians won’t do it for us. They can bring some help and assistance, but it won’t get to the root of the problem. Nor will government programs. There is no short-term solution. The only answer for the ills of this country is a heaven-sent spiritual awakening, a revival.
I am not talking about a turn to spirituality or a turn to a god, whatever you conceive him or her or it to be. I am talking about a return to the Living God, the God cited in the March 3, 1863, resolution passed by the Senate. I am talking about the God we have always believed in from the beginning but have forgotten, as Abraham Lincoln said.
There never will be a spiritual awakening in this country until we believe in the one and only true God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Without this, there never will be moral change or a cure to our nation’s countless social ills.