Have you ever been really torn between two options? I'm not talking about the choices between grape soda or orange, or between vanilla ice cream or chocolate. The options I have been grappling with the last few months are the choices between following the dictates of my flesh and following the Spirit of God... the choice between peace and war - both spiritual and physical. As a matter of fact, I know you don't want to think of the possibility of "war" in this country, but we will all be facing that grim reality in the future if the threats are carried out concerning a "Revolutionary War" or "Civil War" resulting from the gun laws presently being passed by the United States government.
We can dismiss crazy talk show hosts like Alex Jones and his statement to Piers Morgan, "1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms!" But it is a little more difficult to dismiss serious warnings by members of Congress, county Sheriffs, and by Federal Judges concerning the real possibility of a civil war commencing over the confiscation of firearms. When that first public servant is shot for trying to take a firearm from an average American citizen, in keeping with the new gun laws, it will be tantamount to the firing upon Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor at the beginning of the Civil War - It will be "Them" against "Us". "After all," we argue, "The Constitution gives us a right to bear arms! The Declaration of Independence gives us the green light to overthrow the government that would threaten to rob us of our God-given, unalienable rights!"
I am torn. Before I go any further I want you to know that I am a very proud American patriot! In years past, pledging to the American flag and hearing the National Anthem caused American pride to rise within my heart, a lump to form in my throat, and a tear to form in my eye. I have led thousands, on two different occasions, in the Star Spangled Banner. Once, with an Army General and a host of troops around me, I sang at the beginning of a good ol' American baseball game. As the flag began to rise, and I belted out, "Oh, say can you see....", the General snapped to attention with a strong salute as his soldiers followed. I could barely continue singing. I was overwhelmed with such a great sense of pride. Just recently, I led some 5,000 West Virginians in the national anthem as the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra accompanied from behind with great power and patriotic gusto! During that same concert, the Symphony performed a patriotic piece I wrote entitled, "Fighting For Freedom".
That feeling of patriotism, without a doubt, would lead me to the battle lines to fight against any enemy seeking to conquer our great nation! But I hesitate. What if it isn't so "Black and White". What if that enemy happens to be our own elected government? Have we not seen that it is no longer a nation where a vast majority of citizens hold to the same traditional American values, much less to the same traditional interpretation of the Constitution? Does it not give us pause to realize that a small "majority" voted in the President and his cabinet, for the second time, clearly knowing their progressive goals and liberal agenda? I think an argument could be made that a growing majority of Americans are leaning toward "Socialism" and are supportive of the present course on which our political ship is sailing. Pause, here, and let me change course.
I am a Christian... first and foremost. Above all else, I am a citizen of Heaven by faith, believing that the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead is sufficient for the atonement of my sins and the justification of my soul before God. My main responsibility is to further "The Kingdom of God" here on earth. That directive, from God Himself, is not some illusive ideal that cannot be reached, but by the power of His Holy Spirit we are able to study the Scriptures and spiritually discern those things that would lead us to a God-honoring life. Many "Kingdom Principles" can be learned from, but are not limited to, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7. These "Truths for Life" are echoed throughout the rest of the New Testament. Read this portion from 5:39-45 -
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:
The apostle Paul may have used the law in his favor a time or two, but when it came time to be arrested and martyred... he knew he was in the hands of God. The same can be said of all the apostles. The church did not rise up to protect them... they prayed. Nor did the church rise up with swords and spears when their dear families were torn out of their homes and thrown into the coliseum with the lions or hung upon large stakes through-out Rome to be used as torches. When missionaries have been confronted with death through the years, they met it with humility, grace, and courage. The Chinese church has suffered and flourished for many decades under government oppression as did the church in the former Soviet Union. Neither guns nor war tactics were used to earn the "Right" to serve Christ in peace.
We, as Christians in the United States, have been conditioned to equate American prosperity with God's blessings and to see our American patriotism as our Christian duty. Most of us pledged our allegiance to this country every day in school and at times... in church. But our citizenship is not here, and nor should our "allegiance" be pledged to a country that is increasingly distancing itself from the things of God. Our country is about murdering unborn babies, marriage between two men, the raising of pop stars to the level of deity, and the pursuit of happiness means obtaining of the world's stuff and filling our minds with food, music, movies, television, internet, novels, and whatever else our flesh may desire. Our lives are filled with many "gods". Our country has not and will not become more wholesome and innocent as time goes on, but the opposite is true. Our government will continue to remove God from our society and "taking up arms against them" will not change that. And when we really think about it, that is an odd way to bring about a spiritual change... isn't it? So... what ARE we "Pledging our Allegiance" to... exactly? Are we pledging to our ideal of what America somewhat stood for in the past? Are we pledging to a baseless warm, fuzzy feeling we get when we picture the "Objects" of freedom such as the flag, our soldiers, or the Statue of Liberty? We are NOT under God. Our "Republic" is changing fast. And we are seriously divided. So, Christian, what are you pledging to? Truth be known, America has weakened the church. Reaching, grasping, and obtaining "The American Dream" has made us very "physically minded" and we are greatly wanting in the "spiritually minded" department. The American Dream has become our idol.
When it comes time to pick up arms against our government, why are you doing it? Yes, they are coming to take your God-given freedoms. They have been doing that for a very, long time. When they began using your tax dollars to murder millions of innocent babies... you did not fight. So, when they want to put cameras and recorders in your car... will you fight? When they want to put computerized "smart meters" on your house... will you fight? When they exercise imminent domain, take your property and block off large portions of property for "environmental" reasons... will you fight? When they come to take your guns... will you fight? When they come to pad-lock your church building... will you fight? When they come to take you and your family to deliver you to mouths of lions for believing in Jesus and living righteously on this earth... will you fight? Jesus will come back before that happens... won't He? We Americans are sadly mistaken if we think that we will go from American Dream to Heavenly Dream before our nation goes through a horrific transformation and the church suffers.
This world is not my home, I'm just passing through. I am a citizen of God's Kingdom and I am to follow the Word of God through the Spirit of God. God tells me to be meek. He tells me to love my enemies. He tells that, "The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." And He tells me, "Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again." When I came to Jesus, I surrendered my "Rights" to almighty God no matter what system of government under which I find myself.
Maybe I'm not so torn, after all.