So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. Ephesians 4:17-19
Although these words were written over 2000 years ago, they sound much like what we are facing in our own culture as pastors and ministers today.
Some will remember efforts of the Moral Majority, started by Dr. Jerry Falwell in 1979. Dr. Falwell's hopes were to stir up evangelical Christians to become more engaged in the political process and see the nation turn their hearts back to God. Although some were critical of Dr. Falwell's tactics, there is no question his efforts made an impact. Many took bold steps and became more diligent in calling the nation to repentance and revival. Dr. Falwell announced in 1989 that the Moral Majority was being dissolved because, "Our goal has been achieved‚"
Now twenty-five years later, it seems apparent that the progress has reversed. More than ever, culture has succumbed to the deception and deceit of the enemy. It is robbing our children of their innocence, our youth of their identity and our families of their stability and wholeness. The message of Biblical righteousness and wholeness has been exchanged for cheap and costly substitutes.
Author Scott Rae provides helpful insights to the topic of morality in his work, Moral Choices. He writes, "Morality is ultimately grounded in the character of God ,that is, the ultimate source for morality is not God's commands but God's character." I would recommend this resource for being better equipped.
Recently I met with a well know public leader in Oregon who shared shocking news that nearly 300,000 evangelicals did not vote in the last general election in Oregon. He said the result of them not voting has ushered in several decisions that compromise and cripple the state. He went on to say that we are in a moral mess.
The Bible is full of examples of Godly individuals who chose to remain committed to God's ways in the midst of moral messes. Joseph, Joshua, Daniel, Nehemiah, Ruth, Mary, Paul, the lists goes on. They determined to stay true to God's Word and pursue righteousness.
It will take more than just preaching sermons about what we are against. It calls for messages of hope, help and healing. It demands believers living their faith out loud. It requires that believers invest with voice, vote and community involvement.
Here are a six suggestions I recommend we all take:
1. Pray earnestly for our nation, state and communities.
2. Model true morality with Godly attitudes and actions.
3. Teach scripture with clarity and grace regarding moral issues.
4. Look for ways to bless the community you live in.
5. Encourage the church to participate in the selection process.
6. Focus on redemption and renewal.
Billy Graham recently wrote, "My heart aches for America and its deceived people. The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance. In Jonah's day, Nineveh was the lone world superpower ‚Äî wealthy, unconcerned, and self-centered. When the Prophet Jonah finally traveled to Nineveh and proclaimed God's warning, people heard and repented."
I invite you pray, believe and act in faith that our current moral mess will turn into a revival of righteousness in this generation.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8