By Tony Casson
There are many millions of people just like me who have turned to you after spending decades in conflict. For my part, I believed that standing with evil was where I was happy, where I was comfortable and where I had fun.
For the decades that I stood shoulder to shoulder with evil, it was easy to rationalize, justify and excuse my behavior. It was easy to refuse to accept that the reason for my being created in the first place was to love you, love and care for other people and to use the time I was allowed on this earth to prepare for the life you have promised us all will follow.
Fortunately, you helped me discover deep within myself, right where you had placed it at my birth, the ability to see the truth. You helped me see the salvation that was offered to all of mankind when You sacrificed Your son and allowed His blood to cleanse us of our sins.
When I had finally decided for myself that the burden of evil had become too great for me to continue to bear, I thought the only way out was to end the life that had been lived so frivolously, so selfishly and so inconsiderately. And when I asked for forgiveness as I thought I was beginning the descent into death, what did You do? You forgave me. You picked me up in Your arms, breathed life back into my body and made it clear to me that I was going to receive an opportunity to embrace Your love and give that love to others.
Although I awoke to the responsibilities I had to face for my years of moral decay, I also awoke to a mysterious joy and peace, a wonderful sense of relief and the knowledge of belonging to something beautiful, glorious and uplifting. I became a part of Your family and from that point forward, I have tried to live up to the responsibility that comes with being a member of that family.
And the responsibility is this: we must conquer evil by doing good. We must love others in the same way that Jesus Christ demonstrated His love for us. We must cast off the evil that speaks to us daily, telling us to judge this person or hate that person. As Christians, we must remember that each one of us was forgiven when we asked for forgiveness, no matter how solidly we had stood with evil before we accepted the glory of living in the goodness that is God. Therefore, we must forgive others and welcome them into the family.
It appears that this is a difficult thing for us humans, Lord. It seems that we tend to think someone else’s offenses are worse than ours. We sometimes question another person’s sincerity when they say that they are tired of listening to the evil one and wish to now open their heart and mind to You.
There is no fence separating good and evil which can be straddled. It is a high wall and one must stand on one side or the other. You have taught me, Lord, that standing on the side of good can be challenging. The willingness of so many of us to embrace things that are contrary to Your teaching is something I struggle with daily. We both know that I am far from perfect and I stumble often, but You always seem to be close at hand to steady or correct me.
I have to admit that I get frustrated sometimes because I just do not understand how we can continue to allow the leaders of this country and the judges that they appoint to constantly remove You from the public eye. I am amazed that so many educated and enlightened men and women can deny that the moral guidance the founders used as a basis for this nation’s government is derived directly from the Word of God, the Holy Bible.
That moral guidance was in the hearts and minds of our founders as they determined how people should live and act towards one another. This is an unchallengeable, irrevocable and undeniable fact of the history of the United States of America. It was George Washington who said, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits and humbly implore His protection and favor.” President Washington was a signer of the Constitution against which all laws are held up to ensure that they reflect the intent of the founders of this country. Surely President Washington looked to You for guidance, wisdom and hope as he worked with others to develop the framework upon which this nation was built. Why is it, Lord, that this fact is so conveniently set aside so as to not offend a particular voting bloc, special interest group or even other religions?
When Joseph Story, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice and the “Father of American Jurisprudence” said, “One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law,” was he mistaken, Lord? Was he somehow confused? And when he went on to say, “There has never been a period in which the common law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundations,” was he making it up? And when he said, “I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society,” was he delusional or was he a man speaking with confidence about the principles by which this country came into existence?
I understand, God, that You recognized that there must be leaders on this earth; that there must be order and discipline, rules and regulations to be followed and consequences to be realized by those who step outside the boundaries of accepted behavior.
But the leaders of this country have all seemed to ignore Your calls for justice, fairness and forgiveness. The leaders of this country have taken up the call of condemnation and retribution for those who violate society’s codes of conduct and have not only inflicted unnecessarily harsh punishments on those individuals, but have taken steps to extend their condemnation and retribution to their families as well. This, of course, is in direct disobedience of Your teachings.
Please, God, help this nation’s leaders to see that the paths they say point to justice and security actually are leading us all into a quagmire of hate, paranoia and suspicion that is causing the good people of this country to look for evil in everyone they encounter.
The decadence, degeneracy and overall obsession with sex and things sexual in this country is less about criminal behavior and more about the moral destituteness of society brought about by the refusal of our government to concede that our moral consciousness comes from the acceptance of the role of God in the lives of good men and women. The actions of our nation’s leaders and the Supreme Court over the last 60 years have been contrary – if not openly hostile – to the acceptance and acknowledgement of that fact.
In 2011, USA Today published a survey that stated that 75% of all America households own at least one Bible. Perhaps they have all been misplaced.
Of these things I am certain: no one walks this earth who is free from sin; no one is entitled to a greater degree of freedom than anyone else; anyone who hates, condemns or judges another human being and claims to be a Christian is a hypocrite.
I humbly ask you now, Lord, to please show me how to help others find relief from the pain of their indiscretions. Show me how to help calm a country that is whipped into a state of hysterical paranoia by individuals who had a responsibility to make sure that nothing like this ever happened and failed because somewhere along the line, they allowed the moral fiber of this nation to dissolve.
“Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”
I thank you, God, for watching over me from above to see danger approaching. I thank You for standing in front of me, encouraging me onward. I thank You for standing beside me to keep me on the right path and to steady me if I stumble, and I thank You for standing behind me to block the past and to encourage me to always look forward.