The United States of America is a great nation. We have been preserved for many years by God, have grown in numbers, wealth and power. Most of us who were fortunate enough to be born and to live in America have been richly blessed. We are blessed with freedom that breeds opportunity. However, there are many who believe our nation and freedoms are in danger, that our wealth and surplus have made us soft and haughty. They believe too many take all that we have for granted. They think we are not properly grateful and appreciative for all our blessings.
If we are to preserve that which we have, then this question becomes increasingly important: What makes a nation great?
Citizens living sacrificially make a nation great.
Greatness comes when persons reach out to seek a better life for the good of all.
Greatness comes when persons are not self-serving but want a better world for all. We need strong homes, family relationships and God-centered citizens who reach out in love. We need schools that teach strong morals, that teach values that make and will keep the people of this nation strong.
A NATION BECOMES GREAT WHEN ITS CITIZENS ARE RIGHTEOUS.
Proverbs (14:34) says, "Righteousness exalts (brings praise) to a nation: but sin reproaches it." More than one great nation has been brought down to destruction in the wake of their own sin and unrighteousness.
We can see some of the stumbling blocks that lie before us and threaten American even today. The weakening of moral and ethical values is seen all around us.
Many are irreverent and do not value or respect the rights and worth of those around them while expecting complete tolerance for themselves and their beliefs. Sadly, there are those millions who profess a belief-faith in God, in Christ Jesus-but literally ignore Him in their thinking, planning and everyday living. For these persons, God is put on each Sunday morning and then hung in a closet out of the way the rest of the week.
Lust and paranoia drive many who find it easy to excuse their bad actions and seek approval for their sin-and friends, we can give it any name we want to, but SIN is SIN. The 10 Commandments are not suggestions. They are God's commandments to be obeyed and respected. This leads us to seeking freedom under the law. But, the law is no better than those who make, execute, and interpret it while supported by the people who have confidence in that law. It goes back to the individual and the fact that the law cannot eradicate fear or give people the full freedom for which they yearn.
GREATNESS COMES WITH RIGHT HEARTS AND RIGHT LIVING, A nation under God.
If we want freedom, we must seek it in the only place it can be found-not in force, however strong, not in the law, however good; but in faith that expresses itself in love. John writes (I John 4: 18), "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." Yes, where there is no fear there is freedom-freedom undergirded in perfect love.
May God bless us everyone. Thanks be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for He has done great things.
- Yeagle-Hungerford is a retired American Baptist pastor who lives in Montoursville.