By Larry Robertson
Pastor, Hilldale Baptist Church, Clarksville
CLARKSVILLE —“It all started when he hit me back!” That’s what the little boy told his mother when he got in trouble for fighting with his brother. Isn’t it interesting how easily we can excuse our own behavior by blaming others?
Unless your name is Rip Van Winkle and you just woke up from a long nap under a tree, you know that our nation is in desperate turmoil. Civility has been dismissed as passé, and angry rhetoric has been normalized. Our blessed nation should be ashamed, but it’s not.
“It all started when he hit me back!” Of course! It’s always the other guy’s fault, right?
During the last presidential administration, a sizable chunk of our country felt the liberty to criticize every move and every word of our former president, while others were his faithful apologists no matter what he did or said. Today, many of those who were quick to criticize the former president act as if it’s treasonous to criticize our current president, while President Trump can’t do anything right in the eyes of those who defended President Obama.
Does anybody else see the lunacy and hypocrisy of what’s happening in America? It’s like we’re living out a mirrored reflection! Look into a mirror, and everything is exactly opposite. Raise your right arm; your mirrored left arm goes up. Blink your left eye, and your reflection’s right eye will close. Both you and your reflection are doing the exact same things, only opposite!
What if—just what if—we actually believed the Bible? “What do you mean? I believe the Bible!” Hmmm. Then why don’t we obey it? Because Jesus said it plainly, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). How much more basic can we get in our relationships than the summation of “the Law and the Prophets”?!?
Listen, nobody expects unbelievers to honor God in their lives. They’ve never surrendered to His authority. But for those of us who do know the Lord, what excuse can we possibly give—one that would actually float with God, I mean—that would justify being unChristlike?
I remind myself regularly that I can’t do anything about the other guy. I can only control the guy I see in the mirror every morning, and I don’t always win the battle with him. But I can do this: I can “treat people the same way [I] want them to treat [me],” whether they do the same or not. If I abandon “the Law and the Prophets,” I abandon the Word of God. And to walk away from the Bible is to walk away from God, not because the Bible is our God but because the Bible’s authority is God’s authority.
We can do better. For the sake of the Gospel, we must do better.