Commentary by Rev. Michael VandenBerg
Another mass shooting dominates the headlines. Calls go out on all sides to take immediate action, changes laws, offer better protections and correct this tragedy. Everyone has a solution, but the problem seems to be that they all treat the symptoms and not the underlying problem.
Over the past decades, America has moved more and more toward elevating a single value to the exclusion of all others. It is not that the value is without merit; it simply is not the entirety of what a nation of character is all about. When only a single character value is esteemed, the problem becomes that all other values have to be shoehorned into the one or simply dismissed as outdated.
The one value that increasingly drives our decisions, actions and reactions is tolerance — the attitude that allows people to do or say what they want and expect all others accept it, regardless of their beliefs and differences and how that may conflict with their own.
We have become increasingly a nation without absolutes. Without a clear notion of right and wrong, sin becomes a word of the past thrown off in the dung heap of discarded beliefs. Without absolutes when it comes to truth and values, there is no end to the dissent of our society’s depravity over time. You can’t have absolutes without a superior architect of the absolutes of life, and this is whom Christians have come to know as God.
The love of God and the justice of God are two sides of the same coin. We suffer when we try to embrace one and deny the other. God has set justice to be the proof for his love and has set his love to ensure his justice.
We can continue to leave the decisions of life and death each to themselves, or we can once again turn to the founding values of this nation that elevate the rights of the individual but also the collective needs of the nation declaring, “One nation under God.”
These are not Republican, Democratic or Libertarian ideals. These are the Biblical ideals that inspired the birth of a great nation. Our generation is the caretaker of this inheritance of the past, and future generations will judge us as to our faithfulness. More importantly, God will judge our faithfulness to his commandments and judgments with the desire that we live in his love. Will we be found wanting, or will this be the time when we see the misdirection of our past actions, repent and return to being the Godly nation we were created to be?
“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 I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
*I know it’ll still be long, but cut highlighted for print – Sam