Pastoral Commentary: Who's at fault when morals slide?

Michael Blackford
Pratt Tribune
Michael Blackford now leads the Pratt Free Methodist Church in Pratt

All of us have learned from Adam and Eve how to blame others for our own failures. God does not accept that push off from our responsibilities. For many years people in the church have been pointing to Washington DC as the ‘problem’ with our country. If we could elect better politicians, then the moral decline would stop and reverse directions. If we could enact better laws, then we could make everyone better. Let us right here, right now, take responsibility for our own failure to act.

It is the Church of the One True God of creation, the God of the Bible, who are supposed to be the ones who live moral and righteous lives. We belong to God, we are His, bought with a price and given a task while we remain on earth. It is our purpose to love God and love other people as we love ourselves. We were made in the image of God to be image bearers to the world. When we were born again, when we were adopted back into God’s family that image was to be restored in our lives.

How can those outside the Kingdom of God see who God is? Where can they experience who God truly is in a way that would encourage them to become His children? It is our responsibility to show the world Jesus. We are told to have the ‘mind of Jesus’. Jesus told us to love one another, to pray for everyone. Jesus told us He ‘did not come to judge, but to seek and save the lost’. Jesus told us to preach the good news and make disciples. God tells us to take care of the widows, orphans, downtrodden, poor, captive, and those in bondage. So, what is the church doing? Not what is our government doing for them and us, but what are we doing?

Jesus’ last prayer for His disciples was that they would be one with God like Jesus the Son, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit are One. We must remain in fellowship with the God who made us who we are. Jesus indicated the world would know who God is because of our unity with each other and our fellowship with God. Are we acting like ‘our’ church is in competition with other churches in town or are we all part of the same body (living organization) working together to accomplish what our Father has given us to do?

God loves variety. Variety of colors, shapes, and sizes of flowers and animals are abundant. Even within people there is an endless variety of personalities. I believe God likes it that way. So why would we think that we should all worship God the same way. We can worship differently but still be part of the Body. The Bible is very clear on how to become one of His children and the price God, through Jesus, paid to make that happen. And He is just as clear on what He expects us to do and how to live once we are part of the family. There are family standards, and our Father God tells us He will discipline those of His who disobey His commands.

God has a message for the whole world and we, as His children assisting in the family business, have tasks to present those words and invitation to everyone around us. Our message is not to be one of judgement for those outside the family, but the love of God and His mercy for all and His desire for everyone to become His children.

Our community needs to see us working together, our country and the whole world does also. We can no longer blame someone else for our failure to obey God. We are at fault for the moral slide in our country, not the politicians. Let us return to the path set before us by God. May we learn to love God as Jesus loved His Father, may we love ourselves the way God loves us, and may we demonstrate love to everyone else as God extended it to us. For God and His kingdom and for the whole world.

Pastor Micheal Blackford Pratt Free Methodist Church