My heart feels to rejoice this morning as I have had the sacred opportunity to listen to a living Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ remind me and all of us that it is only in and through Jesus Christ that we can be saved. Indeed my heart has been stirred greatly of late as I've contemplated the state of our nation and the world.
We live in a time of great political upheaval. Ideas and philosophies are being pushed and embraced that go explicitly against the freedoms our Founding Fathers fought so desperately for and then enshrined for us in our God inspired constitution. We live in a time when it is quickly becoming more fashionable or "politically correct" to be godless than it is to state with courage that we believe in God. Our government that is supposed to protect the free practice of all religions, rather than support one to the exclusion of all others, is more fully embracing the religion of secularism or atheism each day. In the process of doing so, the great spirit of patriotism and love for our country, and the belief in her role as a light to the nations is quickly dying. At the same the love of the people for each other, normally kindled by religion, is suffering the same fate. We can see this exemplified by the many acts of violence we hear about daily in the news. Sadly, the more we here about it, the more desensitized we become to violence, and the vicious cycle continues.
Not only does violence increase as the feeling of love and caring for our fellow man decreases, but also our freedom. We learn from Paul, in 2 Corinthians 3:17 that ". . .where the spirit of God is, there is liberty." With the loss of the spirit of God, which is a natural result of the embracing and celebrating of secularism, also comes the loss of freedom. With increased violence, people want more security. A perfect example is the aftermath of the Newtown, CT shootings. A heinous crime was committed with a gun so a great hew and cry has been raised that to be secure and free from gun violence perpetrated by a few, all Americans should be willing to give up some of their second amendment rights for the greater good. The tragic events in Boston this week are only going to enforce the desire for greater security and hence the need to give up more freedom to get it.
Another consequence from the embracing of secularism is the loss of personal dignity and integrity. Where once we were a nation of workers willing to take responsibility for ourselves and then to help others who were less fortunate, we are becoming, or have become, a nation of shirkers who would rather let the government take care of us and who are willing to take everything we can get from those who are still willing to work hard and are therefore more fortunate than us. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.
What is the answer? There is only one answer and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself summed it up nicely when responding to the lawyer that asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life. "And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself (Luke 10:27). Jesus also taught, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." In other words, we show our love for God by keeping his commandments, which includes showing love for our neighbors. How do we do that? A king in ancient America summed it up well when speaking to his people: "When you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God." As we serve our fellow man, we show our love for them and in turn our love for God.
I know for myself that these things are true. Only as the gospel of Jesus Christ is taught and spread once again will the spirit of God that once guided this nation begin to increase again. Only in a return to the moral virtue that comes as a natural result of learning, understanding, and embracing the teachings of Christ, can we hope to stem the violence and other challenges we face in our nation. Only as we reach out in love and serve one another can we hope to build a better world.
Randy McNeely is a father of five, an aspiring author as well as a singer/songwriter. He has written several patriotic songs, children’s songs and multiple religious hymns, including Oh Jesus, Savior of Mankind, which won a Special Recognition award in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 2008 Music Submission contest.
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