She stood there, reflecting upon her actions as she had been instructed, her five-year-old mind searching for possible excuses but finding none. She was guilty—too much evidence and no alibi. Tears pooled in her large blue eyes as she slowly raised them to meet those of her parents.
Her father spoke gently, but firmly. “We are sorry, too, sweetheart. But this isn’t the first time—how many times have we warned you, but you didn’t listen. So now you will have to live with the consequences.”
Her eyes widened in horror. Suddenly, she began sobbing uncontrollably. Her parents, stunned by this strange outburst, knelt down to learn the cause. The concerned father asked, “What’s wrong, honey?”
Between shuddering sobs, the little girl stammered “I…I…I don’t want to live with the con-se-kences—I want to live with you and Mommy!”
* * *
Who among us ever wants to live with the consequences?
So—why do we exceed the speed limit while praying not to get caught, feed habits destructive to our health and relationships despite warnings, and overspend while greatly in debt?
Because we want what we want when we want it. Instant gratification. And we don’t like rules or boundaries—to be told what’s best for us, what we should or shouldn’t do—so we do it our way.
When finally forced to face our consequences, how many of us glare towards heaven and demand, “Why me, Lord?”—while looking around for someone to blame.
Far too long we Christians, as a nation, have stubbornly ignored God’s loving counsel and constraints, sorely testing his patience. Now, we watch in horror as we see the day of consequences rapidly approaching. And, typically, we look around for someone else or something to blame.
We point fingers at the decay of our nation’s moral fabric, the socialization of our free market system, the invasion of godless foreign ideologies, and specifically the political arena. Who is to blame—the liberals or conservatives? The Democrats or Republicans? The President—House or Senate? All of the above?
Every difficulty we face as a nation is but a symptom of the real problem. God’s people, us—we who are called by his name—have left our first love. We have lost sight of who we are and why we are here.
Too long we have played church—if we bother to go at all—pious-appearing in attendance but narcissistic in motive. We substitute church size for significance, entertainment for inspiration, and major in meetings, mottos, methods, and money—instead of the Message.
Ignoring God’s counsel that we be “in the world but not of the world,” we have shamelessly succumbed to its siren call and abdicated our responsibility to be salt and light in the nation God entrusted to us.
By pulling our religious robes tightly around us, refusing to dirty our hands in politics’ muddy waters, we commissioned the ungodly to rule our nation, control our country’s purse strings, and create our laws. Now we are on the precipice of economic collapse and have ungodly laws ruling the godly, ungodly, and everyone in between—affecting future generations.
Let’s face it, we, as a religious community and as a nation, have lost respect in the eyes of the world that once esteemed and admired us. And we can only blame ourselves.
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. . . . He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 2:4, 5, 7 (NKJV).
Are we listening? Or do we still insist on doing things our way? Bent on quick fixes, do we exclaim, “Our nation is ‘going to hell in a hand basket’—how can repentance and prayer help us now? We need to get the right people in office so we can turn this country around!”
Really? Political maneuverings can solve spiritual problems? They haven’t yet.
Turning to God is our solution—and our heavenly Father is waiting. As did the little girl, our only hope is to confess, repent and learn from our mistakes.
Yes, we will still suffer consequences—but hopefully not as harsh. The good news is—if we are sincere and act quickly—God will listen.