And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips…”
I am the last guy who wants to equate modern America with Old Testament Israel. People who quote Jeremiah 29:11 and II Chronicles 7:14 make me want to pull my hair out. Those promises were for Israel in some of her darkest days. We are not that people and that situation is not our modern America. But I digress.
After what was a horribly polarizing election cycle, which saw far more hate than love, more angst than peace, and more lashing out than making up, I noticed something disturbing. Christians, in large swaths, came to Trump in what can only be assumed was an attempt to stave off the hounds of liberalism.
I don’t care who people vote for. Most of the time I stay out of the argument altogether. I’d rather talk about Kansas City Royals baseball, naval warfare, writing, and theology, not necessarily in that order. People who voted for Trump did so for many decent reasons, just as people who voted for Clinton did. Even those who voted for Johnson or Stein did so for defensible reasons. Your politics is your politics.
But when you vote in a way that seeks to speak on God’s behalf, I get concerned. I’m particularly concerned when people want to side with a politician who will just as surely stab evangelicalism in the back as look at them.
Further, what I saw on Twitter and Facebook made me ill. Christians debating unbelievers with anger on their lips (or on their keyboards, as it were). How sad! What a divide we’ve caused this year! We spewed anger and evil out of one side of our lips to unbelievers while wishing each other a “good day” from the other side on Sunday morning. Despicable.
To echo the great prophet Isaiah: We are a nation of unclean lips.
Yes, there are some angry atheists. Many of them, especially in the hours immediately following the election results, did some very ugly things. Does that make what we do acceptable? Of course not! Our standards are so far above the standards of unbelievers. After all, our standards come from Christ himself! Yet Christians in America, especially the conservative, Bible-believing ones, have sold any moral authority we had in order to get a man in office who will probably (I stress probably) get someone on the Supreme Court who will nominally uphold our moral agenda. Not that it will lead to the overturn of Roe v Wade or Obergefell v Hodges (same-sex marriage) or any other moral issue.
Which is the point in the end. Instead of remaining true to God’s agenda of caring for the poor, feeding the homeless, providing shelter for the orphans, and most importantly, telling them about eternity and how to be a part of it, we convinced ourselves that our hope is in the American political machine.
The American Christian seems more concerned with having a moral America than a believing one. So we elect people who will legislate our moral code while we drive a wedge between us and unbelievers so that they will never want to hear about how to believe in Jesus.
Isaiah’s response to realizing that his nation had gone the wrong way was to claim woe and to ask God how it could be fixed. And God did fix it. As Isaiah watched, an angel delivered God’s redemption directly to him. We also have redemption, if we believe in Jesus Christ.
Now, here’s where it gets amazing. God, after purging the sin from the prophet, asked a pivotal question. It is a question as vital today in America as it was in Old Testament Israel.
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
God wants to know, from among the professing Christians…in the crowd of those hoping for a political solution to a spiritual problem, who will really speak for him?
The dust is still settling, even almost a year after the election results, but in a nation of truly unclean lips, it’s time for believers, who understand that they also have unclean lips, to realize just how bad the spiritual situation is and respond, first with repentance from our own sin, and then to the call to go to the crowds for God. We must retreat from filthy politics that just drive a wedge between us and the world and openly work to reconcile the unbelieving world to God.
And God is looking for people to go even today. His words shouted from the annals of Isaiah’s time still echo today. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Will you also be a laborer? Will you cling to the hope of the great American political machine or will you join the Holy Ghost in his effort to turn America (and the world) into a truly Christian nation?