Over the past many months, a group of friends and I have been doing an in-depth study of the Bible. While ultimately focusing on the spiritual lessons learned therein, we’ve also been studying scripture in light of the historical and cultural context of each book…which is critical to understanding and applying the teaching of the Bible correctly.
Something that has really caught our attention about the cultures and historical events that were present during the time of each book of the Bible, is the similarities to the events and characteristics of our present-day culture here in America, and the world at large. It’s certainly true, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” The unbelievable amount of extreme violence, division, cultural chaos, injustice, racism, persecution, greed, selfishness, vile sexual immorality, and all the rest that was so dominant in the cultures of thousands of years ago is alive and well today. Unfortunately, nothing much has changed. The eternal battle of good versus evil continues.
As we are well aware, this is election week, and we can feel the tension in the air. The level of division and discord among candidates, political parties, and American citizens all across the land is at a fever pitch! Threats of voting deception, riots, and violence seem to be looming in the air, like a heavy, impenetrable fog.
While some Americans passionately embrace and promote a certain candidate and/or political party, others struggle to make the right choice. As a cattle farming friend of mine often says, “Trying to choose a good candidate these days is like reaching into a pile of manure and trying to pick out the cleanest cow patty.” No matter the case, the bottom line is that we all hope those who we vote for will ultimately bring about a better country and a better world.
Going back to the lessons learned in the scriptures, the leaders and rulers of some civilizations certainly brought about more peace, unity, and justice than others, which translated into either a better quality of life for those who lived under those rulers, or, a significantly worse one. In the grand scheme of things though, the core elements of people’s lives didn’t change all that much on an individual basis no matter who was in charge of their country. The goodness of their overall wellbeing, and most importantly, their eternal salvation, was not dependent on a political party. It was dependent on making daily, willful, responsible, conscious decisions to strive for goodness and avoid evil. In Christian terminology, to love God and hate sin. It was dependent on being the best human being and son or daughter of God that they could be on an individual basis first, which then positively influenced their families, their friends, their local community, their cities, and beyond.
As easy and as great as all that may sound though, we humans still fail with this core mission each and every day…which is ultimately why our country, our world, and our individual lives are still filled with the same evils and chaos that have plagued humanity from the beginning. As we focus on making the right choices for a better country this week and beyond, let us focus more so on daily making the right choices that lead to becoming the better human beings that God has called us to.