I don’t usually like to write about secular and especially political things. But the other side of the coin is that many, if not most people, are largely concerned with secular and political “affairs of this life”. (II Timothy 2:4) So I’m going to share something here that’s mainly going to go against the grain of modern American Christian thinking. Because so very much talk by Christians now here in America is about how very bad our government is and how very bad our society is.
From one perspective, it’s refreshing in some ways because for generations Christians here were some of the most “Pollyanna” pro-American society folks you could find. But now so many Christians can hardly start a conversation without cursing the President and our government, saying they think this is about as bad as it can get.
You think America right now is really bad? Let me tell you about my experiences abroad for 36 years. I have utterly no regrets concerning my calling as a Christian missionary. But I can tell you, as much as I love the countries I’ve lived in and the people I’ve ministered to, the things I’ve seen and experienced can make me really appreciate the things that are in the USA right now.
Let’s say your house catches on fire. I lived 5 years in a wonderful country where, if your house is on fire, you will negotiate in your front yard with the fire department for how much you’ll pay to save your house while it burns down behind you. This was just business as usual and how it was done.
I’ve lived in at least 3 countries, large, famous “third world” countries where, if you’re an adult with children and you had any money at all, the first thing you did was put your children into private schools. The government schools in those countries, I won’t name them, were so utterly failing that it was virtually a curse to your children if you let them go to government school.
You as the bread winner make $3 a day. You, your wife and kids live in a two room house. You, your wife and kids ride on your 125 cc motor scooter, all 5 of you, as you wind through traffic in the capital of 20 million, but you actually are definitely middle class. And your goal is to get your kids into private school so they can get some kind of education.
How does that compare to us living here in the US? Makes you feel you have it pretty good? Many, if not most folks here, live in a house with 3 bedrooms, two baths, a front yard and a back yard, and probably you’ve got two cars. You’ve got TVs, cell phones and all the things that “normal people” have here. But that would be in the upper 1% of so many countries worldwide. But it’s virtually lower middle class here. And yet we often complain about our society and government and think we’re really suffering.
A sin often mentioned as grieving God in the Bible was murmuring. “Neither murmur, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” (I Corinthians 10:10) Griping, belly aching; we’re all prone to it. But it seems to be rife today among Christians, especially towards our government. Many seem to think that the democratically elected officials of this county are all that’s standing in the way of this nation’s greatness. As if changing the political party in power is what’s needed for God’s blessings to be poured out on the nation.
On the other hand, I’ve lived in “Post Christian” quasi-socialist societies in Northern and Western Europe where I had a job for a while and drew minimum wages at that job. Nevertheless I paid 50% taxes on that income as that was the minimum tax rate in that country. And yet virtually no one in that country complains about the tax rate or hardly even the government. They feel they have it pretty good and the society at large has agreed to that level of taxes. Almost all Americans pay way below 50% taxes. But it’s probably the single most harped on issue that’s the source of unhappiness for so many Americans. We here virtually have a heart attack about the taxes we pay and make that the center of our conversations and focus in life.
The point is, for my American Christians friends, we have it really pretty good. Many now look forward to what they expect to see soon: a complete breakdown of law and order in the USA and a police state imposed after the collapse of American society and government. Maybe that will happen; I wouldn’t be real surprised.
But you may come to wish that you had the days we have right now, with a government that’s trying to maintain law and order, schools that children can go to, a President that is flawed but sincere and trying, institutions that were set up over 200 years ago which have been the envy of the world since that time.
There’s a lot that is wrong here. But on the other hand, there’s really a lot that’s not as bad as others have it. And yet so many Christians bad mouth, complain and go on and on with how bad we think it is and how bad our leaders are.
Maybe some of them are. The gridlock in our government has been really disturbing and concerning. But constantly complaining and leading the charge of negativity and hatefulness should not be the place of godly Christians. “Let no corrupt communication proceed forth out of your mouth, but that which is good, to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)
We’ve got a lot to be thankful for. The day may soon come when we look back to these times as absolute days of heaven which will never be able to return. I suggest we count our blessings, including our government, and stay busy trying to bring souls to Him, rather than being constantly heard to be a fountain of negativity about our lot and our society.
“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
It could be worse. It is in so many places around the world. It may very well be that way here before long. May we all count our blessings while we have them and not be heard to gripe and complain.