What Do You Listen To?
So many voices and opinions out there...
By Paul Hayden
October 26, 2020
The election of a president and representatives of the people of the United States is far overrated relative to eternity. And yet each election is very important. This current election is especially critical. Let me clarify.
Right now leading up to a major political election in our country is one of my least favorite times in all of life. You hear animosity and conflict and hatred all around us, whether on TV commercials, newscasts, or just in daily interaction between people. What we need, and seriously lack, are honest, factual, respectful discussions and debates concerning the problems in our country, and how we should collectively deal with them. But what we have is narrow-minded name-calling, mudslinging, and accusations, whether true or false.
This year, I would dare to say that the polarization of our country is arguably the worst that it has ever been, and it has been very bad at various times in our country. There are forces at work that I truly doubt most people even can recognize or identify. There are main camps like the conservative and liberal viewpoints, the religious and the secular, or the city/suburban and the country/rural elements. There are the wealthy and big business and the poor and local small business elements, as well as the young and the old, the educated and the not-so-educated. These are just a few of our differences.
Unfortunately, there is an almost infinite mixture of these elements that further confuses all the discussions. There are city conservatives and rural liberals. There are supposedly "Christian" liberals and atheist conservatives. There are wealthy conservatives and quite poor liberals. It's hard to know where anyone stands, or why.
We have come to misunderstand what "government" is really all about.
Government is simply people living together, achieving common goals. Protecting one another, helping one anotehr - not controlling one another. How do we meet our common, universal needs, and do it in such a way that we are helping and not hurting one another? Life. Liberty. Freedom. Caring for one another.
Many talk about compassion, human rights, personal character, and even caring for the planet on which we live. But if we cannot love one another, then NOTHING ELSE really matters in God's eyes.
So, what can we do about it? What should we listen to? Where should we go for answers?
There is really only one voice, one view, to which we should all pay close attention.
"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your might." (Deut. 6:4-5)
This is the first and foremost commandment, given by God and expected and required by Him of each one of us. It is only by making this basic, fundamental, life-giving choice that any of us can ever be able to clearly see and understand what is going on in our world, today or ever.
I would propose that each person who votes should first "get right with God." Go before God in prayer and ask Him in a spiritual manner whom you should vote for, and why. Ask Him for wisdom, to know the truth. Jesus said, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." John 8:31-32
That sounds simple, but I do not want to oversimplify it. Yet it is deeply profound, what "following God" really means. It is too often overcomplicated with overthinking, theorizing, and explaining.
We have largely lost the deep reverence for Almighty God that puts Him and His commandments first.
We see it all around us. We have regressed to the point of killing babies in the womb by the millions. We strive and cheat and steal and lie to get what we want in life. We have made sexuality a playground and a war zone, rather than the expression of love and life that it truly is. We get focused on far lesser issues, on people and their shortcomings, on greed, on our own petty desires in life.
If we truly each had a reverence for God and the life that He has given us, this world would be such a better place.
"We love because He first loved us." John the apostle goes on to say "If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also." 1 John 4:19-21
We have few basic needs, but they are profoundly complicated by the trappings of our modern world - the wants and desires and greed and complications found in our lives. I think of Mother Theresa in modern times, or St. Francis of the middle ages, and their simplicity of life as they cared for the poor around them.
Our basic relationships God has covered in the "Ten Commandments." (Exodus 20:2–17 and Deuteronomy 5:6–17) How much more basic can you get than "You shall not murder" or "You shall not steal" or "You shall not lie"? These were laid out for mankind over 3,000 years ago.
"Be still ('Keep calm'), and know that I am God." (Psalms 46:10)
"If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served...or the gods of the people in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15
May God bless you and be with you as we make these important decisions in our country. And may God keep you safe in the days to come.
Paul Hayden is a Christian believer, and an American patriot, necessarily in that order. He is a student of the Bible, and is avidly interested in our role in the context of history, as understood through the heart and eyes of faith. Paul has lived and traveled somewhat widely, and now lives in the heartland of the U.S. (central Illinois), with his wife Donna - they have five grown children. Since December of 2016, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief of www.ConservativeTruth.org.
"I was raised by a Christian minister, Kenneth Hayden, until his death when I was 10. Then my mom married a farmer. So I was raised in a very down-to-earth home. My faith has grown through the years, but both in conjunction with the institutional church and through small groups and individuals, including books as well as group settings, where deep, sincere faith is shared that aligns with Biblical truth."