Healing Our Nation – A Pre-emptive Strike
I am writing this article in advance of our upcoming national holiday Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the corresponding Service in Abbeville at Friendship Worship Center. The issue of the Martin Luther King Holiday has proven in the past to be a divisive issue. The name of the service at Friendship Worship Center is to be “Let the Healing Begin & the Dream Continue.” The name of the service speaks for itself. However, the main reason for the service is to continue the healing process of our nation and to begin to pray for revival. I will be participating in this service as I did in the reconciliation service this summer. Why? Because I simply believe, it is the right thing to do! I believe our responsibility as Christian leaders in this community is to lead. However, more importantly, not just to lead, but to lead in the right direction!
I understand that Jesus, as the head of the Church or the Head of the Body of Christ has given us the ministry of reconciliation. He has placed the responsibility of reconciliation squarely on the shoulders of the church, so it is up to us to complete this monumental task. This is not a ministry that only part of the Body of Christ has been called to enter, nor is it a task that only part of the Body of Christ can complete. This will take a cooperative effort from all of the churches and Christians working together.
Jesus, as recorded in John chapter 17, prayed earnestly for unity in the church. A clear indication that this prayer has not yet been answered, can be seen with one look in the church section of our local yellow pages. I would like to know the percentage of our approximately one hundred and seventy plus churches which were started as a direct or indirect result of a church split! Division, not unity, seems to be the order of the day. It is obvious that our nation and the Church are still in need of healing.
In John 17:9-11, Jesus prayed: I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. Please notice Jesus prayed for us to be one, not one hundred and seventy! The clear indication is for us to work together. Jesus understood the power that comes from agreement, and He knew the monumental ministry of reconciliation that would be given to His church. He also understood the fleshly nature, and the spirit of division that would seek to keep us apart. Jesus knew that this spirit would manifest itself in many varies invisible, yet visible barriers.
Some of the manifestations of this spirit of division are: denominations; races; cultures; classes; geographical differences; fear of sheep rustlers; fear of that which is different from us; interpretations of Scripture; as well as interpretations of laws and governmental documents. Some of these same manifestations caused the war that tore our nation apart and left a bloody stain on the history of this great nation. Many Americans are still fighting this war today, only the location of the battlefield has changed, and the weapons of war have changed. But most of the division remains. This division must be overcome before the prayer of Jesus will be answered.
Another indication that the prayer of Jesus has not yet been answered is the overwhelming response of the community to the reconciliation service in Abbeville this past summer. A Website poll, which was conducted by the Index Journal, resulted in 90 percent of the people responding with the belief that the reconciliation service would not help bridge the racial divide. Another article which ran in the Index Journal on July the 23rd stated “I think it is blasphemous to use a house of God to bow at the altar of political correctness the way the people at the Friendship Worship Center did.” This type of comment leads me to believe that neither the community nor the church, really understand the ministry we as the church have been given. Our most important ministry is reconciliation.
Reconciliation cannot happen without repentance and in many cases, that repentance must be corporate repentance. There were several indications in the comments following the reconciliation service, that many people in our community, including Christians, do not believe that it is possible to repent of some one else’s sins. Let me assure you that it is not only possible, but in many cases, it is required for the healing of a nation. Especially when those who actually committed the sins have already died and left us to deal with the curse their sin caused.
The sins of a few can affect an entire nation corporately. In Joshua chapters, 6 & 7 we see the sins of one man (Achan) affect not only the rest of his family, but his sin also affected the entire nation of Israel.
Isaiah: Overwhelmed by the presence of God in the Temple, Isaiah expresses his heartfelt repentance on behalf of the entire nation of Israel (Isaiah 6:5).
Jeremiah: faced with the terrible threat of national judgment, Jeremiah acknowledges the wickedness of his own generation and the guilt of his ancestors (Jeremiah 14:20).
Daniel: As Daniel fasts and prays for the nation of Israel, He repents of the sins of the entire nation (ref: Daniel 9:20).
Nehemiah: when he hears of the devastation of Jerusalem, Nehemiah also repents of the corporate sin of the people of God that has brought it about (Nehemiah 1:6).
It seems quite clear to me that these men are repenting before God out of a genuine sense of responsibility for the state of their nation.
With all of these examples being given, we can rightfully conclude that if curses can be realized corporately, then it would be equally provable that the obedience of a few, or even one, could bring the blessings corporately. The obedience of one (or a few) can actually bring blessings on the entire nation and in some cases multiple nations. One of many examples of this truth in recorded in Genesis chapters 37-48 with the obedience of Joseph, which resulted in at least two nations being delivered during a famine.
However, the most important example of this great truth is that of Jesus Christ, Who took the sins of all mankind upon himself for the purpose of reconciling us to the father. He paid a debt He did not owe for a world that could not pay the debt they owed. Actually, this debt included the very sin of crucifying the Son of God, Jesus Christ Himself. In Luke 23:34 Jesus said: ….Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do….. Here we have the ultimate case of corporate confession by someone who had never committed any sin whatsoever! This is the ultimate case of reconciliation and our finest example in Scripture of what lengths Jesus would go to settle the issue of reconciliation.
Now I know somebody reading this article is going to say “well you are not Jesus!” To that I would have to respond in agreement! But we are the Body of Christ, His body on earth. The head wills and the Body fulfills. There is a popular song on Christian radio right now by a group called Casting Crowns. The name of the song is “If We are the Body.” This song is asking the Church to answer some very important questions. The lyrics are: If we are the Body … why aren’t our arms reaching? Why aren’t our hands healing? Why aren’t our words teaching? If we are the body, why is His love not showing them, there is a way? To most all of these questions I would have to answer “Because we are not working together as one, the Body of Christ in this earth. Instead we are working as many different bodies with many different goals!
Reconciliation and Political correctness are, for the most part, opposites. Political correctness today usually does not line up with the mission of the church. Unfortunately, anything political is usually divided along party lines! The ministry of reconciliation calls for a type of repentance that results in unity and true reconciliation that lasts!
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