11-23-13 “America. . . We Are Sinking One Step At A Time” – Pastor Shane Idleman
Within the last few decades, Americans have seen the destruction of the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, the removal of God’s Word in several areas, and the abortingof millions of babies. Ironically, many of the men and women who died for our freedoms did not die for what we are becoming today. Many gave their lives in order that we would be “one nation under God,” not above God. A Fifth Division graveyard sign in Iwo Jima, Japan, states it well: “When you go home, tell them for us and say, ‘For your tomorrows we gave our today.’”What a travesty when we fail to honor those who gave their lives for the freedoms we now enjoy.
In the words of Father O’Brien who served in World War II: “It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate.” O’Brien continues: “It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”
This Thanksgiving, let’s be very clear on this: “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both” (Dwight D. Eisenhower). Historically, we know that God judged those nations who continually tolerated sin; wrong choices had devastating consequences. Arnold Toynbee, who completed A Study of History in 1961, said: “Of the 22 civilizations that have appeared in history, 19 of them collapsed when they reached the moral state America is in today.”
Historians realize that a republican democracy, like ours in America, cannot last forever. Eventually, there is a collapse due to moral decay and financial irresponsibility—liberty often leads to abundance; abundance to complacency; complacency to apathy; apathy to a loss of freedom. Based on this, where are we today? Unfortunately, countless people are confusing God’s patience with His approval. “Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever” (Thomas Jefferson). C.S. Lewis said, “The safest road to hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
We’re often too smart to take large, deliberate plunges, but we’re easily enticed to take one step at a time. One year, with summer approaching, I stepped into my in-laws’ swimming pool. My immediate reaction to the piercing cold water was to step out, but to avoid embarrassment, I continued down the steps. I stopped when the water reached my knees. After a few minutes, I continued to move slowly down, stopping for brief periods until I was fully submerged. Each step was shocking, but I gradually became comfortable with the cold water—my body accepted what was initially shocking. In the same way, we’ve become comfortable with sin, and what once alarmed us now amuses us. We continue to hear: “Come on in, it’s not that bad, everyone is doing it!” And we step right in. America has been desensitized one generation at a time, one court decision at a time, one compromise at a time, and we are drowning in a cesspool of relativism. The wicked freely parade and prance about while evil is praised throughout the land (cf. Psalm 12:8).
God said that He looked for a man from among the leaders who would build a wall and stand in the gap before Him on behalf of the land that He might not destroy it, but He found no one (Ezekiel 22:30). This was true in Ezekiel’s day, and it’s true today. We are sinking one step at a time, but God is still looking for good men and women to do what is right.
This is a difficult message, I know, but I make no apologies. In this case, when we fail to confront, we confirm. When we fail to confront destructive ideas and philosophies, we are, in essence, confirming them. We cannot change what we will not confront; we must speak the truth in love.
For those who believe we should remain passive and silent, I challenge you to read the writings of the Old Testament prophets. They lamented, shed tears, and pleaded with the people and the leaders to turn from their sins and to turn back to God—they spoke the truth in love. Even Jesus wept for Jerusalem when He saw that her destruction was near.
The same cry goes out today in America where we increase our wealth, but decrease our values. We search the heavens for the answers, but turn from the One who created them. We call ourselves a “Christian nation,” but we often reject the biblical principles that made America great. Sadly, we call this progress. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a Letter from Birmingham Jail on April 16, 1963, wrote, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” I hold the same opinion today. America, how long will you waiver between two opinions? If God is God follow Him (cf. 1 Kings 18:21).