How does a person drive courteously or friendly? Does he or she stop their vehicle for every pedestrian who wants to cross the street or for every car waiting to enter the roadway?
What if the motorist spots a friend driving toward them in the opposite lane? Is it courteous for them to stop their cars in order greet one another and chitchat from their respective vehicles? Some drivers feel it’s essential to do these things in order to be a friendly and courteous driver.
But what if you’ve got a number of vehicles behind you? Is it fair to them to repeatedly stop for every pedestrian wanting to cross and every car waiting to enter the roadway? Aren’t crosswalks and traffic lights intended to help them? Is it courteous to the motorists behind you if you slowdown for every friend who wants to stop and chitchat? Does your courtesy extend to the drivers behind you, whom you may be endangering by blocking the flow of traffic?
And what if you show favor to every squirrel, opossum, and turtle that wanders onto the roadway? What if you religiously feature a bumper sticker on your car that reads, WARNING: I Break for Animals? Is it more important to you be kind to an animal than to ensure the safety of other motorists?
Recently, on Facebook, I watched a video of a woman walking out onto a freeway and waving her arms to halt the hurdling traffic. Why was she doing this? A mother duck and her ducklings needed to cross the highway. Hopefully, none of the drivers was busy texting or checking the rearview mirror when they came upon the traffic jam. Otherwise, there might have been a huge pileup. Yes, she was being kind to the little animals. But it was at the expense of endangering many motorists.
Every one of these scenarios involves disadvantaging others to advantage one or a few. They involve being discourteous to the many in order to “show courtesy” to the individual. They exemplify endangering others to be friendly to one.
This is the mentality and practice which pervades society. We are obsessed with showing favor to the one or the few to the exclusion of the many – and to the detriment of the whole. And we’ve convinced ourselves that we are good and kind people for doing so. We believe ourselves to be better people because we pour out kindness on one person, all while showing contempt toward many others.
We are altering the whole of society to accommodate every individual with a grievance. But isn’t it far wiser and far safer to make our decisions and our laws with the good of everyone in mind? Isn’t this the logic Paul applied for the exercise of spiritual gifts and ministries within the church – that everything be done for the edification of the many rather than the individual (1 Corinthians 14:4-5, 26, 40)? Didn’t He write that we should look out for the interests of others rather than ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4) – as Jesus did (Philippians 2:5-11)?
The wheel that squeaks loudest tends to get the oil. But with some wheels, no amount of oil will ever stop their squeaking. This is especially true if “squeaking” becomes an effective tool for gaining power and maintaining control. Some wheels won’t be satisfied even if every drop of engine oil is poured into them. And in the process of trying to satisfy the squeaky wheel, the engine will seize and the car will cease to move. How does the car benefit from that?
What would happen to the body if one organ ceased to labor for the good of the whole and began to function only for itself? Other organs, feeling neglected, might follow suit and demand their place in the sun. In little time, most organs would be looking out for “number one.” They’d blame each other and wage war against each other over their real or imagined grievances. As a result, every organ would perish. They’d fail to understand a critical reality – they’ll all share the same fate. They will survive together or perish together.
This pretty much describes America’s current situation. We have some who demand and are showered with attention, consideration, and favor. But this is done at the expense of many others. And it’s arousing the anger and suspicion of the rest who demand their place in the sun. But let’s not forget that we will all share the same fate. If America falls, it’s taking everyone with it. No segment of our population will benefit from America’s destruction. As Benjamin Franklin put it, “We must hang together or we will most assuredly hang separately.”
When imperialist Russia fell to the Bolsheviks in 1917, many of the serfs rejoiced, having been promised freedom and ownership of land. But it was all a lie. They were all herded into collectives and were subsequently starved. The same was true for the Chinese peasants when Mao Zedong overthrew the Chinese Nationalists in 1948. The lives of the peasants changed for the worse – exponentially. Forty to one hundred million Chinese died during the Giant Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. When a country falls, the poor and underprivileged never benefit. They just become pawns in the hands of a more brutal regime.
When the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, it took more than two thirds of its passengers with it. And those who perished included both the poor and the rich, both the crew and the passengers. Those who survived were wracked with grief and guilt. No one benefitted from its sinking. The same will be true if America falls. We will all share its fate.
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, when You exiled Your people to Babylon, You commanded them to seek the peace and well-being of that wicked city. You told them to pray to You on its behalf. For, You explained, “in its peace you will have peace” (Jeremiah 29:7). You told them they would share its fate, whether destruction or salvation. Therefore, I pray for the United States of America. Please bless and save our troubled land. By your Holy Spirit, breathe a revival across America and bring us to Jesus Christ in faith and repentance. Cleanse and transform our sinful hearts, fill them with Your love, and turn us to each other in love and reconciliation. Bless America, O God, heal our divisions, and mend our every flaw. Redeem our government, our educational institutions, our businesses and financial institutions, and our entertainment industry. Please raise up men and women of God to lead our nation on the path of righteousness. Raise America to true greatness, we pray, and use it as Your instrument of the Gospel throughout the world. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.