“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
g Alas, the many months leading to our elections gravely affirms there are two nations under God. Both divided, legalistically bound, and unclear (perhaps, intentionally) about God’s true meaning of justice. The schism is due not only to political ideologies, religious beliefs, worldviews, economic conditions, gender, race, age, geography, and historical experience but in its failure to care for the most vulnerable amongst us and love one another. The manifestation of our divided hearts is well articulated through the words of political aspirants, their supporters, church leadership in the pulpits and across the television screen, in sanctuary pews, and in the deepest closet prayer.
We find a Biblical parallel with the minor prophet, Amos. In the 8th century B.C., Amos lived in the complexity of two nations under God: the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Israel was entrenched in a deep socioeconomic divide, an ancient 99% movement without progress and media spin. The wealthy lived in luxury and extravagance, lavishly decorated homes and appearance, unfair business practices, corrupt and brutally negligent to the needs of the poor. Does it sound familiar?
God was not pleased and His judgment brewed. Outwardly religious, the Israelites condoned by word and deed dishonest, immoral, and oppressive means to preserve their milieu. Their inner man (heart) truly did not know God and sought not His known character. Amos’ reprimand to find God’s mercy and personal and national course correction applies to us. “Seek good and not evil— and live! You talk about God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, being your best friend. Well, live like it, and maybe it will happen. Hate evil and love good, then work it out in the public square. Maybe God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, will notice your remnant and be gracious.” (Amos 5:14-15, the Message).
How do we heal our deeply divided nation? Brother and sister, we must seek forgiveness for dividing that which God made one. “Every kingdom that is divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” (Matt. 12:25; Mark 3:24-25, and Luke 11:17). Most troubling, this “kingdom”, city and house is occupied by those who profess a doctrinal understanding of the faith, relationship with the Savior, Jesus the Christ and call themselves, Christians. A nation is built upon communities. Individuals, like you and me, form the foundation of the latter. Sincerely, we must repent for our separation from Him and our sins of omission and commission against Him…and others. Harken back to Paul’s remarks to the Colossians, in this reconciliation with God and in bearing with each other and forgiving one another as the Lord forgave, we will be bound together in perfect unity. We heal our divided hearts. Then, only then, we can stand as one before God.