It’s Us, Not Them

It’ Us, Not Them

Summary: It’s easy for us American Christians to blame others for the many problems that threaten our nation, but most of those problems are merely symptoms. We must identify and address the fundamental problem.

Find other articles by Larry Fox about Christian activism in America

Every human society will experience differences of opinion and disapproval of other people’s actions. Unfortunately, that’s very natural. It’s also very natural for us to view those who think differently than we do as the cause of our societal problems. Most Christians seem to share this view; that it’s all those non-Christians who are the problem. I suggest as a Christian, however, that the fundamental problem is with Us, not Them.

Though we don’t live under the ancient covenant God made with Israel, we can learn some general principles from it that might apply to us today. Many Christian leaders very appropriately have focused our attention on Second Chronicles 7:14, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Under that covenant, God explained the Israelites’ obedience would bring them many blessings, but their disobedience would bring a wide range of problems on them individually and on their nation — weather, financial and military problems, among others. (Lev 26:14-26; Deut 28:15-68)

As Christians, we live under the new covenant, which is characterized by grace and not the Law of the Old Testament, so those lists of problems don’t apply to us directly. However, our covenant, the New Testament, also indicates that the condition of our society is at least partly dependent upon us.

It urges us to offer prayers, intercession and thanksgiving for everyone, including government leaders and authorities, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (1 Tim 2:1-2) If we honor God, things will go better for us. We may still experience persecution and troubles because we live in a fallen world, but Jesus overcame the world and so can we. (Mt 5:10, 11, 44; Jn 16:33; 1 Jn 5:4; et al) We can conclude, then, that our faithfulness influences the condition of our society.

I contend that if we American Christians for the last 100 years had been doing what we should, our nation wouldn’t be facing most of the problems that threaten us today. Most of our society’s moral, ethical, economic, political and legal problems are symptoms of spiritual apathy; not among sinners, but within the church. The fundamental problem in our nation is Us, not Them, and it’s time for us to acknowledge we deserve much of the blame.

We think we can live like the world and enjoy the benefits of God’s kingdom. We want the best of both worlds, as if the world’s best were worth having. In reality, most of us think and act just like the world; we simply do something different on Sunday mornings and blame others for our problems. As a result, the American church at large is lukewarm, a mixture of true Christianity and worldliness, which is repulsive to God. (Rev 3:15-16)

Frankly, if I were a sinner looking at the church community, I wouldn’t be interested in what the church at large has to offer. We’re no better than the world and seem to have nothing of value to offer, other than a promise of life after death.

As a believer, I’m distressed by the indifference and lack of power in most Christians, including myself. I’m deeply disturbed when we blame our national and cultural problems on the ungodly, while ignoring the influence and responsibility we have.

Please join me in prayer, not just for our nation, but primarily for the American church. There is hope for our nation — there always is when God’s involved — but the change must begin with us. Let’s humble ourselves before God and ask him to help us discard our worldly attitudes and ways of thinking, then show us how to be salt and light in our world.

10 comments on “It’s Us, Not Them

Dennis on January 5, 2013 5:10 pm

This would make a good sermon. Mind if I use it?

Larry on January 5, 2013 5:52 pm

You’re welcome to use it. I hope it’s effective.

Diane A. Burton on January 6, 2013 3:34 pm

Larry, How right you are!! We really don’t like to look at the apathy and lack of “being involved” which have brought us to this pass.

Darya on May 6, 2013 12:11 pm

The Bible says that whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Now, if according to Sis. Neida’s beautiful message, we are good soil; WE MUST produce good fruits. What are our fruits? Our good works, the ones Jesus talked about when he said: Let your light shine before men, so they see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. So, LET IT SHINE!!!

Janet Moss on January 6, 2013 9:31 pm

Who has time and energy to blame the world for being the world? The world will live as it will until it knows a different way. The world and it’s attitude should shock no Christian. To it’s credit, the world is actually very consistant in it’s… there’s nothing new under the sun kind of way. The Church on the other hand, could craft a short desperate prayer that sounds like this. Dear God, My bad, I haven’t worked hard to show and tell the world a different way. I’m a lifeless selfish couch potato bound by a slumbering stronghold and multiple enchantments. Break me free and give me your heart. I’m willing to cooperate with your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Thanks Mr. Fox for a great article and word of hope and direction.

Kathy Coffin on January 6, 2013 10:31 pm

I agree with all that you shared in this article, Larry. I struggle with myself, too, and the missed opportunities to boldly proclaim the truths of God. It is easy to blame others for the many difficulties in life, however, if we are honest with ourselves, and God, a good look in the mirror, some soul-searching, and reading the Bible will definitely show us differently! The sin, indifference, and lack of power in Christians and churces that are supposed to be pentecostal are grievous. I find myself weeping in prayer as I repent of the same weaknesses, wrong attitudes, forgotten prayer requests, and other sin in my own life. I am grateful for the forgiveness given by my God through the blood of our precious Jesus, but know, as you’ve said, the change must begin with me to put off the wrong and put on the righteous ways of our Lord. Thank you for exhorting us, dear brother; I will agree with you in prayer for our nation and the American church.

Vanessa on January 7, 2013 1:52 am

With God all things are possible, and I agree that we Pray for God’s direction and influence on not only our children and loved ones but ourselves as even we as Christians have allowed sin to influence our choices and made many areas that were once black and white to me, seem gray and confused. We also can only be the example when we have seen the light to shine on the darkness in our own lives. We can’t force change, nor expect certain results from others. It is my own lack of power to influence change for the good that distresses me the most, but I am thinking that is a control issue that I have to deal with. I must learn to rely on God’s power and live my life as an example admitting any sin that I feel conviction of and work to make it right as I am the example both good and bad and I have noticed the bad is what is most often repeated and always used to excuse the bad of those we may have influence on like our children. When one is extraodinarily good about something, they are just considered “not normal”. We need to all make the effort to be the opposite of “normal”. We must also be willing to bend to His will, to be used to Glorify Him.

Jill on January 8, 2013 1:30 pm

I believe the main issue is a lack of the love of Jesus. Although I had gone to church most of my life, I did not come to know Jesus until I was in my late thirties. A couple poured out love on me. They had me over their house, the wife came over to my apartment and cooked homemade soup when I was sick and read the bible to me. I myself am guilty of reacting in the flesh, instead of walking in the love of Jesus. What made me really fall in love with Jesus is the realization that He, even though I was a sinner loved me with a perfect, sacrificial love. If we got this message across to the lost (broken hearted people) many people would come to know Jesus as Lord & Savior. I guess this is pretty obvious, however, when we see someone at church we need to greet them as Jesus would greet them.

Junior on May 6, 2013 4:20 am

Well, that is an interesting thought and I do enjoy the fact that you are stirring the pot . I suppose at first I must what definition of Christian are you using? If it is what I would term and American Christian then no, I don’t think he does. The word Christian is so over used to describe religion and many who compartmentalize Jesus into a once a week church visit. Those who fall under that definition rarely allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives, and don’t allow their religion to bleed over into personal, work, or entertainment life. Now, if the definition is a follower of Christ, such as a disciple to a rabbi , then I would say yes. Typically speaking, any one who would claim to be Jewish would understand the thought that a rabbi is validated by how well his followers adhere to his teaching. If that is our desire behind being Christian then yes I think he would care. That being said, I try to become more aware everyday of how my life as a disciple reflects on the teachings of the Rabbi.

Judy on June 11, 2016 6:34 am

Yes, we are to be the salt and light to the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*