Change we can believe in

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I witnessed many tragic ends through the years, SR dying in the streets destitute and diseased, JP dying of a drug overdose, LB ending up in prison, and some so bad we cannot talk about. In all these particular tragic ends there was one truth at the core – they all made many very bad decisions. Usually they chose feeling good over being good, thus making their immediate pleasure their god. They all had to set aside the Word of the LORD which they heard several times, and choose the alternative advice of others who shared their same weakness. They had to turn their back on the Christian community, and on God.

A friend asked me after a tragic event, “what could the government have done to change this tragic outcome?” Indeed, what could the government have done? The question reflects much of our modern sense of how to address problems. We expect the government to be omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. We expect great morality and care to flow from the marble castles of legislation. While in reality many of the occupiers of power possess the same weak sensibilities of those falling into tragic ends. Our government possess little to no power to effect change in morality. They cannot make parents care about their children’s education. Or help people reject temporary joys at the cost of later devastation. Neither can they help a child mother selflessly give her baby to an adoptive family better equipped to give the child a good life. Modern American values lean toward seeking the government to create psychologically based programs to help people make moral decisions. But Moral decisions cannot be programmed or legislated, they have to come from within. Yet we Christians still think by voting for the right person we will reestablish the America we of which were once proud. Or by passing laws we will halt our nation’s moral slide. But moral change does not come to us from weak leaders within an immoral society – it must come from a real moral center. The LORD our GOD established the Gospel so that people may receive power internally and eternally to be His moral people. Only as the LORD works within us do we even understand what a moral decision looks like. Only as much as the LORD helps us, do we possess the power to put moral decisions into action.

The road to reclamation comes only under the power of the Gospel and the inner workings of the grace of God. Along with all the tragic ends we witnessed through the years, we have also seen the LORD God do great miracles of transformation. JB a street thug and drug dealer was saved and became a disciple of the Word. JM became a Christian at a VBS and now as a young adult lives in the community as a stand out among his peers. PS came to Christ and shocked many of her family members by the change in her life. We could go on and create a modern Hebrews 11 heroes of the faith, but to our point we want the Church to understand the need of the Gospel over the need of legislation. The Church has recently been attacked not for its proclamation of the Word, but its allegiance to political agendas. We should be changing the world through the mission of Christ – “Go and make disciples” rather than putting our hope in political action that cannot change hearts and minds. Jesus Christ transforms lives forever. Where should we expend our energies? Where should we be looking for help?


About the Author:

Dr. Brown the pastor of Military Ave. Church in one of America's poorest neighborhoods since 1989 where he serves with his wife Barb. He holds D.min and M.div from Gordon-Conwell. He authored Justice Matters a book addressing compassion ministries among the poor. His children now grown still worship and serve at Military Ave. Church.
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