RUINS? RIGHTEOUSNESS?

One of the most unforgettable places in the world is Capitoline Hill overlooking
the Campagna di Roma. The view resounds with the dusty echoes of one of
history’s greatest cities.

But anyone who has studied history knows that the Roman Empire self-
destructed almost 1500 years ago. The ruins and decaying monuments are still
remarkable, but they are also visible reminders of what was…what might have
been.
Recently, that view has reminded me of
another country thousands of miles
away—the United States of America.
How? Dr. Billy Graham says it best:

    America is one of the great
    strategic countries of the world.
    Probably the most strategic. I
    think it’s the country that the
    world looks to for the moral
    standards, for a military balance
    in the world, for secure economic
    power.  Along with that comes
    tremendous responsibility on the
    part of the American people.
Then I thought about another statement—a warning—declared more than a century ago
by President Abraham Lincoln:

    At what point then, is the approach of danger to be expected?  If it ever reaches
    us, it must spring up among us, it cannot come from abroad.  If destruction be our
    lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher; as a nation of free men, we must
    live through all time or die by suicide.

Failure as a society doesn’t just happen. To fail, we must consciously neglect our duties,
privileges and responsibilities that come as part of the privilege for being citizens of the
world’s greatest nation. Likewise, if our country is to succeed, we will have to actively
seek to insure that America’s continuing dreams are fulfilled.

ATTACK FROM WITHIN
During the past century, we’ve seen an unprecedented attack on the moral and spiritual
fabric of our nation.  It has touched every nation, every city, every town and every
person. This attack, by all appearances, will worsen as the next century unfolds.

There are many faces to this attack—war, racial hatred, abortion, incest, crime,
pornography, alcohol, abuse, humanism and the occult.

Worse, we have so many in the mainstream media and our educational system who seem
to want to make the war on terrorism into another Vietnam “quagmire.”

Likewise, the hall of Congress, it seems, are increasingly filled with people who seem bent
on making sure that President Bush is roundly defeated every day, no matter what it
costs internatinally. These same “leaders” seem to believe that losing over there will
ensure winning at the ballot box, and apparently they haven’t thought through where
losing over there will ultimately lead here at home.

I can’t even fathom that sort of Benedict Arnold-
type thinking.

Do we have a death wish as a nation?

Why else would we constantly seek to find ways to
snatch defeat from victory?

CAN GOOD TRIUMPH?
Somewhere inside me, however, I feel a growing
awareness—an urgency I believe more and more
Americans are sharing—that perhaps the United
States can beat historical odds and once again
become the significant, potent world power for
centuries to come.

You see, attacks aren’t the main problem. No one
enjoys assaults, but they aren’t the greatest challenges.  Any country’s most gaping
wound, historically, almost always comes from within.  

Arnold Toynbee, the famous historian, counted 21 major civilizations that have come and
gone. Ours, he said, is only one of five which remain.  He also pointed to the fact that
almost all had not been overthrown by some outside aggressor but by moral and spiritual
collapse on the inside.

John Stuart Mills, in his powerful “Essay on Representative Government,” wrote the
following answer to any future collapse:

    A people may want a free government, but if, from insolence, or carelessness, or
    cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to the exertions necessary for
    preserving it; if they will not fight for it when it is directly attacked; if they can be
    deluded by the artifices used to cheat them out of it; if by momentary
    discouragement or temporary panic,or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual they can
    be induced to lay their liberties at the feet of even a great man…in all these cases,
    they are more or less unfit for liberty; and though it may be for their good to have
    had it even for a short time, they are unlikely long to enjoy it.


American must re-learn what we should have known all along. Our desire for a free and
righteous nation must once again become greater than our desire for convenience and
unrighteousness and irresponsibility.

But it won’t be easy. Neither will it be without a price. What we do today and tomorrow will
make THE historic difference between a great nation and a dying bed of ruins.

Granted, we are the best dressed, best fed, best educated and most advanced people in
the world. No one can match our military power, nor our opportunities for people
everywhere whose hearts yearn to be free.

Yet, if history is repeated, we may be only one generation away from a lawless, vandal-
controlled country.

What will it be?

Ruins?

Righteousness?

The historical odds are against us. However, the choices we make now will mean all the
difference in our world.

God won’t intervene in our affairs until we cry out to Him, and up to now, Americans haven’
t done too much crying out.

Mainly we just whine a lot, even in the midst of abundance.
FROM THE BEST BOOK

If my people, which are called by my
name, shall humble themselves, and
pray, and seek my face, and turn from
their wicked ways; then will I hear from
heaven, and will forgive their sin, and
will heal their land.
             —2 Chronicles 7:14
THE COUNTRY
PARSON,
Benjamin Parsons,
has tended to hurts
and hearts in North
America's most
remote frontier
regions, including
the Pacific
Northwest, the
Canadian Rockies
and Alaska.
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