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Friday, January 23, 2009

Change?

For many, the results of the most recent election are viewed with great optimism for the future. For others, the results are seen as a cause for pessimism. As in all elections, some consider it to be the dawning of a new age, while others are certain it means the end of the world. This observation is true no matter which party has become the party in power. At such times it is important to remember that God has not abdicated his position. He is still on his throne and Jesus is still sitting at his right hand.

Over the past couple of years there has been a desire for change in our country. We have observed it in the rhetoric of both candidates as they have talked about the need for change in Washington. Congress’ abysmal approval rating certainly points to our desire for and the need for change. In addition to the problems of Wall Street, we have seen corruption, scandals, greed and attempted power grabs from both sides of the aisle in Congress. These have certainly fueled the calls for change. Unfortunately this is nothing new. We have heard it many times before. It surfaces every four years, then quickly dies down until the next election approaches. Real change never seems to occur. We seem to stay in the same old rut, no matter which party is in power.

We do well to ask why. The answer can be found in comparing God's view of change with ours. We often view change as only the way we do things, and the distinct policies we hold. We do not think of it as being related to who we are and the character we have. We tend to think of it in societal terms. But in God's eyes, change begins with personal repentance which leads to transformed lives characterized by holy living. Repentance requires turning and going in the exact opposite direction. In the words of Jesus, we are to "go and sin no more". Without repentance of the wrong doings and evil that we have done, and the desire to cease doing them, change will never occur. This explains why we have become so cynical of Washington. Without repentance and transformation it is doomed to repeat the same mistakes as before. Corruption, scandals, greed and attempts at power will continue unabated.

Change must begin in the human heart. This is why mere spoken words are not enough. It must lead to action. It has to come from the heart, for that is the center of both our will and desire. It is in the heart that God transforms people's lives. It is easy to point fingers at our leaders and power brokers. But if we are to see our society changed for the better, it must begin with us. We must examine our own lives in order to discover where we need to change. It is only as we repent of our own sins and live transformed lives are we able to bring about change in society. It will begin as we live transformed lives in front of our families, our friends and our communities. We can then legitimately pray for our leaders, that they will repent and become transformed as well, without being hypocritical ourselves. That is the only way we will see true change in Washington. If this does not happen, all the talk of change will amount to nothing. Over the last thirty years we have witnessed a moral and ethical downward slide among the leaders of big business and government and in the entertainment industry. It is definitely time for change. But am I willing to first change myself?

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