Without much fanfare, at least in the evangelical community, the evening of Oct. 8 and the daytime of Oct. 9 passed. Surely, there were of a myriad of activities and busy schedules that needed attention. A “to-do” list for that time span needed to be completed. Life seems full of excuses when something is important.
While the special day, Yom Kippur, was on the Jewish calendar, it wasn’t even a speed bump to the vast majority of the Christian world. Didn’t seem to matter that the principles of the Day of Atonement unfolding in the Old Testament called for a time of reflection on our personal, relational, and cultural sin. God called His children to a national day of repentance. Fellow Baptists, we could use a day of repentance.
For what purpose? Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower figured it out when they encouraged the people of this nation “to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow.” Not everyone did that in the 1860s or the 1950s. But many did. And certain sins were not confessed and walked away from, like slavery and those private unmentionable sins.
Every time the media grabs hold of a story or a scandal or natural event, there is no deep sense of sin and godly sorrow in the heart of this culture calloused by the steady stream of information that gobbles up one’s capacity to think. Instead of stopping our proverbial steps that distance us from the God who loves, we blame others for our woes. When does the day come for us to look down into the depths of our own lives and own our sin?
After all, moral failures, misplaced priorities, relational dysfunction, pro-choice postures, addictive behaviors, unethical business practices, same-sex orientation, sexual abuse, etc., are phrases spin doctors prefer to use instead of calling out sinful, wicked behavior. Calling out sin and its subsequent behaviors is so rare that media commentators have lost how to say it or spell it. Instead, they prefer to use euphemistic phrases that hide the actual brokenness that always accompanies sin.
The common thinking is: if it isn’t illegal, then it must be “okay.” As a culture, have we forgotten there is a higher law than American jurisprudence?
Bingo! That is the issue. Our culture has consumed the full measure of the politically correct Kool-Aid. Like the poison that took the lives of 918 people in Guyana who followed cult leader Jim Jones, even our children are force-fed secularist ideologies through systems that fail to teach students truth, purposefulness, and critical thinking.
While speaking at the University of Notre Dame on Friday, Oct. 11*, Attorney General William Barr told attendees, “We are told we are living in a post-Christian era, but what has replaced the Judeo-Christian moral system? What is it that can fill the spiritual void in the hearts of the individual person? And what is the system of values that can sustain human social life?”
Barr went on to contend that many of society’s ills are caused because of the breakdown of religion in society. Then he said about the militant process of secularizing our culture, “This is not decay, … This is organized destruction. Secular forces and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia, in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”
He further stated that “ground zero” for the attacks is the public schools, pointing to New Jersey’s passage of a law requiring public schools to adopt LGBT curriculum.
Our culture may not be able to find a day to “get right with God and man.” However, the God who loves people to the uttermost stands ready to keep His eternal promises to the people who come to Him in repentance and faith. What could be the power of such a day that people would stop and consider sin, confess sin, repent of sin, and experience the washing of forgiveness? It’s sin, people, and we must deal with it God’s way.
People want change. Change starts in the core of a humble, repentant heart and then manifests itself through the life choices of a person whose perspective is radically transformed by gospel grace from self-justification to a radically wise steward of life.
*Fox News, Oct. 14, 2019.