In my last post, I outlined what I consider to be the most pressing problems we face as a nation. At the end, I said I wanted to address a more foundational need that is essential if we are to turn things around. What I’m about to say might sound simplistic to some, but I believe it is the root of all our problems and, if taken seriously, is also the solution.
Critics of Ronald Reagan used to say that he was too simplistic, but he begged to differ. He said that there is a difference between simplistic and simple. Simplistic is a pejorative term indicating lack of thought or consideration. Simple means easily discerned and followed, with an accompanying comprehension of why it will work. Reagan’s solutions to the problems he perceived in his day were simple: cut taxes, eliminate regulation and overspending, and rebuild the national defenses. He couldn’t get the cut in spending with a Democrat Congress, but he achieved the other goals. The result was rising economic prosperity for all.
I have some simple solutions as well. They go back to basic principles. When I began this blog, I wondered what title I should give it. It didn’t take long to find one that satisfied the desire of my heart for its purpose; I decided to call it Pondering Principles. Why? Because principles are the starting point for any discussion or understanding of the world and how it works. Webster defined principle as the source or origin of anything. I wanted this blog to go deeper than surface issues; my goal was to look beneath the surface and ponder the real reasons for everything.
Those reasons begin with a worldview. Everyone has a worldview, whether they know it or not. Your worldview is the set of presuppositions, or the prism, through which you see all things. Your worldview provides your interpretation of events. There are many competing worldviews, but only one can be true [despite what you may have been taught].
I am convinced of the truth of the Biblical worldview, which informs me about the nature of God, the nature of man, the reason why we go astray, and how this chasm can be bridged. Essentially, man is in rebellion against God. That rebellion spreads to our relations with one another. And it is that very rebellion that must be squashed if any real solutions are to be found. We have to acknowledge our rebellion and seek forgiveness for the selfishness that motivates us. God’s method for allowing that is the cross of Christ.
That cross, and the forgiveness that flows from it, should humble us because we know we don’t deserve to be forgiven. It should then inspire us to be all that God wants us to be. If we truly turn our lives over to Him at that point, He sends His Spirit to provide the grace we need to follow through on that commitment.
That’s where all real change starts. After that, we need to allow Him to renew our minds and see the world through His eyes. We need to learn why some things are right and others wrong. We need to have hearts that break over the sin that dominates our society. Then we need to take up His mission to spread His truth.
God’s truth applies to all aspects of life, whether family relations, education, media, artistic attainments, government … you can fill in the rest—nothing is exempt. We need to permeate society with Biblical principles and watch them operate in all those spheres.
Yes, we need to fix the externals: the proper definition of marriage and family; an understanding of the sanctity of life; support for a free enterprise system that allows individuals to take responsibility for their own actions; and the limitation of civil government to its God-ordained role rather than man’s concept of “Government as Savior.” There is only one Savior.
It must begin, though, with individual lives being changed by the power of God and minds being renewed. Otherwise, even if we succeed in passing legislation that lines up with God’s law, any such success may be temporary. If all we do is force external change without emphasizing internal change of heart, it will all be for naught.
I spend a lot of time in this blog talking about what we need to do with respect to the current issues. But if all I ever do is concentrate on external solutions, it will be as Solomon once said: vanity of vanities, all is vanity. My responsibility is to continually point to God’s eternal principles and to urge everyone who reads these words to become His disciple.
So there it is—a simple solution. Yet we find that most reject this simple solution. The sad truth was recognized by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount when He said,
For the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
I don’t expect everyone to heed this call, but I still maintain that if a significant minority do so, this nation may yet turn back from its headlong rush to destruction. May it be.