June , 2001
"They slay the widow and the alien; they murder the fatherless. They say, 'The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob pays no heed.'" Psalm 94:6-7


Will the world end with a bang or a whimper? You can get strong opinions either way on that question.

However America will probably end with a yawn as we ask for someone to pass the TV remote.

The reason we'll probably yawn is because we have become so at ease in our national sins, and in the self-delusion that we are immune from judgment, like the adulteress who "eats and wipes her mouth and says, 'I've done nothing wrong.'" (Proverbs 30:20)

It could be called smugness. It certainly is a false sense of security. Charles Simeon, an early 19th century preacher said, "By nothing are the delusions of men more strengthened than by a confidence in their own wisdom and judgment."

Not too long ago, veteran TV anchor and columnist Bill O'Reilly wrote, "We are living in a soundbite nation... Never before in our nation's history have Americans been so unwilling to actually pay attention to important matters."

Among the important matters to which we need to pay attention is how deserving of judgment we are. And, in the face of deserved judgment, how obsessed with trifles we have become as Craig McMillan said recently: "Just reassure me that I'm living in the right neighborhood, worshiping the right celebrity, trusting the right politician, and donating to the right causes. [But] don't ask me any embarrassing questions."

One embarrassing question would be asking where we got the idea that killing our unborn, sexual licentiousness (both heterosexual and homosexual), and teaching our children to sin will do anything other than destroy us.

It is of course pride and self-absorption which breed such self-delusion. It's the blindness of the arrogant and wicked man of Psalm 10:2-6 who "hunts down the weak [our most weak are the unborn]," and "blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord... He says to himself, 'Nothing will shake me; I'll always be happy and never have trouble.'"

The level of self-delusion that is now embedded in our national character didn't happen overnight. Our national conscience for instance was once appalled at killing its unborn, at sexual licentiousness, at males marrying males or females marrying females and at parading those lifestyles, or at our teaching our children to sin. Those were heinous evils.

But then destructive philosophies slithered in and assaulted our moral underpinings and attacked our values and standards: from the value of life to the sanctity of married intimacy to the definition of a home. And attacked. And attacked. Unrelentingly. We slowly began to change our thinking so that our national conscience began to find room for increasing evil. We didn't call it evil of course; we called it social progress or something for the national good. It was all very pragmatic. But gradually the unthinkable became thinkable, the unacceptable became acceptable -- evil became good and good became evil. And we arrive at a day like today.

This is how Nazi Germany came into being. Twenty-five years before Hitler, probably no German would have believed that his or her nation would get so arrogant and self-deluded that it would slaughter six million innocent and helpless Jews and millions of others. Yet it happened. Nazi Germany is now defined by one sin: GENOCIDE. The alarming part is that we're as cocksure as Nazi Germany in our self-delusions.

Our pride rationalizes our aggressive sinning. Just listen to us brazenly argue for our national evils. We have the taste for the bloodshed of Cain, of the Canaanites, of Nineveh, of Babylon. Who hasn't heard feminists, politicians or the media stubbornly contend for the right to shed the innocent blood of the unborn, even the blood of an almost born baby?

We have the spirit of the whoremonger as we listen to sexual philistines attack moral values and promote licentiousness and homosexual perversion. Our self-delusion has us so convinced that these national sins are worthy endeavors that we are teaching them to our children -- a reality that immensely marks our foolishness and particularly places us near judgment.

What demolishes self-delusion? Truth! Loving the truth.

But we've been wilfully blind and deaf to the truth about our sins and our looming judgment. We "refuse to love the truth and... be saved." And to those who do not love truth, "God [will send] a powerful delusion, so that they will believe the lie and... be condemned." (II Thessalonians 2:10-12)

America cannot continue as it is going. The only reason we remain a nation is the grace of God; but our retribution is fast approaching. And we are dissipating this "window of mercy." Unless we repent, we will perish. But we remain indifferent. We weep to consider the likely scenario for America that it will take judgment itself upon us for the truth of our self-deception and the finality of our punishment to hit us.

Amidst our nation's looming judgment we in the Church and pulpit should tremble because we face the piercing evaluation of our Lord for distractions and slavishness to the church calendar; idolatrous focus on fads, hype, celebrity and entertainment; allowing psychobabble and success platitudes to be paraded as cheap imitations of the Gospel.

The same searing judgment our Lord gave one deluded church, Laodicea, will be ours: "I will spit you out of My mouth." (Revelation 3:16)

What is needed? Repentance! We must face the truth about ourselves as a nation and as a church. To us in the Church, let us recall that repent is what Jesus commanded His churches in Ephesus, Pergamus, Thyratira, Sardis and Laodicea. If Jesus used the word repent, we in the Church and pulpit must, also.

Self-delusion ravages America. It excuses our enormous sins. It revels in the prosperity of the moment. It ignores accountability. Self-delusion will take America and other nations to hell, as it did with the people of Noah's time, Sodom, Israel, and other nations. The only reason our nation remains is the mercy of God.

Only repentant churches and pulpits who have severely dealt with their own self-delusions and love Truth will have the moral coin and clear insight to speak the truth compellingly to our deluded nation by naming its sins, calling it to repentance and back to God.

Such repentant and clear-speaking churches and pulpits will have biblical revival and become catalysts for a blessed spiritual awakening across our land!

Bill O'Reilly, when he wrote the words mentioned earlier, became so exercised that in capital letters he wrote, "PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE." And added, "I bet you never thought a column would yell at you."

This is a pivotal time for us in the pulpit to take a cue from O'Reilly and say some things in capital letters, even yell a bit. Get urgent.

Our nation is in trouble. And that guy reaching for his TV remote needs to seek the Lord.

And his yawn may simply be mirroring ours.

Let's pray: Our gracious heavenly Father, forgive us for not
loving Your truth. Truth that, if heeded, will save us. Forgive
us for ignoring the truth that our national and personal sins
will bring down judgment on us. In such a time forgive us in the
Church and the pulpit for yawning while our nation heads toward
its certain judgment unless it repents, and for being distracted
by the church calendar and the cheap imitations of Your
Gospel found in fads, hype, celebrity, entertainment,
psychobabble and success platitudes. In Your mercy we ask
for biblical revival in Your Church and spiritual awakening in
our beloved land. In the Name of Your Son and our Savior
and Lord, Amen!