This headline for this past year could be "Guilty"—whether declared by court or by accusation. The worlds of government, business, media, entertainment and even the pulpit are not immune from the current casting of societal leaders from the pinnacles of prestige to the basements of banishment. This firestorm produces gusts of justice against those who are guilty, but also destructive winds of injustice for those falsely accused for personal gain. So, what do the guilty do? What do the innocent do? What does society do in response?
From where did this sudden societal outrage come? What is the motivation to expose certain unacceptable behaviors? What is considered acceptable behavior in our society today, and what will "proper behavior" be in years to come? Who decides?
We would like to believe that our nation is experiencing a genuine return to decency; but that assumption is false because the acknowledgement of God is nowhere in the public debate. His moral standards of good and evil found in the Bible are conspicuously absent from the national outrage.
There are two major competing supernatural forces that must be understood through spiritual insight found in the pages of Scripture. The primary force at work is God's judgment on individuals, as well as on our nation at large. We are witnessing the truth of the biblical principles that "no sin is hidden that will not be made known" and "you will reap what you sow."
God is calling attention to our sins as individuals and as a nation. Are we listening? This raging fire of accusation, mistrust and skepticism is consuming the soul of our society, which was built on trust, duty and integrity. If we humbly respond with repentance, it can be a cleansing fire of healing and restoration. However, if we ignore God's warnings, the fire will destroy.
The competing force at work is the devil himself, who attacks all that is good. Aided by hypocritical enemies of truth and fanned by the reach of modern communications, the devil's fire encourages denial or self-defense rather than repentance.
How does God want us to individually respond to the scandals all around us? Each of us must realize that we are guilty of 'scandal' in God's eyes because we are sinners. How can we choose to be free from the bondage that sin holds on us? We must acknowledge that because God is our Creator and Judge, only He can define what is holy or evil. We need to realize that our own sin prevents us from entering into His presence. We need Jesus Christ to mediate for us through the ransom that He paid when He took the punishment for our sin on the cross. After our repentance of sin and our acceptance of Christ's gift of salvation for us, God will transform our life from scandalous to sanctified.
Our other choice is to reject God by defying His right to determine what is right and wrong. If instead, we choose our own "god"—our self, government or some other ideology, then there is no hope of healing or transformation in our life.
How does God want us as a nation to respond to the sin that pervades every corner of society? We must reinstate Him as the Judge of all mankind. His laws must dictate what is right and wrong—rather than man-made rulings. God's moral code—the Ten Commandments—should be the foundation of our national statutes. His sacred value of life must replace the humanistic value of life based on personal inconvenience of pregnancy, disabilities or old age.
We must again respect the honor that God gives to human sexuality. We must accept who He has made us to be—male or female. We must enjoy the pleasures of a sexual relationship within the bounds of marriage that God has established.
Our dependence on Him must be acknowledged through prayer in public as well as in private.
The swirling chaos of the cultural tempest should be no wonder. Many think that man has no purpose, has evolved with no soul and is answerable to no higher authority than one's own mind. Without a God-given purpose, many pursue their own lusts and fleeting gratifications. Believing they are their own god, they believe they are the sole determiner of their actions. All of life becomes relative to their personal whims. Our lives are transformed when we understand that we not only answer to God, but we are put on Earth to honor Him in what we say and do!
We as a nation can no longer look to government or education to fix America's destiny. We cannot depend on prosperity, economic growth or the ever-elusive goals of success to satisfy our needs. Even religion does not hold the key to transformation.
Only the mirror of God's Word can reveal who we really are. Only the Bible reveals the attributes of the One True God, who both shows us our sin and offers forgiveness for it. Only in His Holy Scriptures do we find His promise of redemption, and of a transformed life!
America can only be transformed by conforming to God's standard of right and wrong. Our cultural values must reflect His value of life and marriage. We must seek His guidance to restore true justice to the land. Because our nation is comprised of individuals working together, the transformation must start in our own hearts.
As we surrender our personal lives to God and allow Him to transform us, our nation can also be transformed. The clock is ticking; so let us not waste another minute in turning back to Him!
The Hon. Sam Rohrer is president of the American Pastors Network, a national network of pastors with constitutional and biblical teachings that discusses today's pressing issues. He was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for 18 years and is co-host of the daily "Stand in the Gap Today" national radio program on 425 stations.