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I am saddened and frustrated today. Not necessarily by what you might think.
We just sent in our census form today, which had me thinking about the role we have given our government (or perhaps, that it has taken) in our lives. Coupled with the passing of the big government health care legislation on Sunday which has caused even “regular folks” to be vocally expressing their opinions … I’m just feeling saddened at the current state of our country.
The title of this post comes from words spoken by Barack Obama just a few days before he was elected president of our country. Listen to the short clip below.
These days the words are being used to suggest that government-run healthcare is the first step toward that transformation. That we are a nation on the fast track to a tyrannical dictatorship. The people (and the states) are ceding more and more control to the growing-bigger-and-bigger federal government.
And there is some merit to that line of thinking. We are the “land of the free” as our national anthem reminds us, and the government established by our constitution is meant to be very limited (especially the federal government) and managed by many checks and balances. So the more power we grant the federal government over our lives, the more we potentially move toward a system that would allow for a dictator. (A centralized ruler (or rulers) over the people, rather than representing the people.)
However, that is not what my title refers to.
The more I think about the various arguments being passionately conveyed by both “sides” of the role of government issue—and, sadly, we’re still not hearing each other—the more I realize that we are in desperate need of a fundamental transformation.
I’m not sure what now-President Obama meant when he said those words. Some say he meant—means—to transform America into a socialist/marxist state that would seek “social justice” by the forced redistribution of wealth, using the tax system to accomplish such a goal. The “power to the people” mentality, which I think is rather oddly named in that the “power” comes as “handouts” distributed by the actual “power”—the federal government.
Perhaps he meant that he truly wants to see those who have been in poverty and in want for so long, even generations, to finally taste the “success” that many of their fellow countrymen have tasted. To have the resources at their disposal that their neighbors have. Perhaps—and I have no reason to believe otherwise—it is truly motivated by a genuine desire to see everyone have the material comforts of life that it seems we could all have in this bountiful, prosperous nation.
However, if that’s true, making that happen via a large, centralized government just isn’t the way to do it. Not at all. An institution is not capable of truly providing those things, nor should it be. Neither is it a good idea to just “distribute the wealth” to people who have done nothing to “earn” the “fruits of their labor.” See… there is value in work. Yes, some people get lucky and get a ridiculous amount of the material resources and wealth. There is certainly an element of luck involved… but it is (almost) never without hard work to get into position to be the recipient of that “luck”.
Free handouts do not help anyone. At least, not really. Temporarily perhaps, but not really. In fact, I’d argue they almost do the opposite.
We can—and it seems we are going to try to—solve our nations economic and social issues through a powerful federal government, enacting all sorts of legislations and programs—and taxes—to accomplish those ends… but in the end, we’ll still be in need of transformation.
The real transformation that America needs—the true “fundamental transformation”—needs to happen in the hearts and minds of individuals, and families, and neighborhoods, and communities. It starts with you.
We are a selfish, lazy, greedy people. We are materialistic and discontent. We lack any understanding of God and his transforming love, and it shows. Divorce, litigation, crime, greed, lust, and so many ways that we attempt to take advantage of each other that I can’t even list them here. Not to mention the dissolution of families: mom, dad, and kids as one loving unit.
We are a broken people.
And human nature requires that we look out for ourselves first. That creates and furthers all of this brokenness. And it can only be fixed—healed, restored—by the Healer. Jesus is truly the answer. He spent his days in his physical body on this planet healing all sorts of hurts. And I believe he continues to do so today.
And I believe he is the only source of fundamental transformation that will have any affect at all on our nation.
Until we allow God back into real life, back into our real lives, we can argue all we want over who is going to provide for whom. But it’s not going to matter. There will always be rich, and there will always be poor. There will always be the powerful, and the powerless.
The founders of this country knew the truth that God created each of us to be free (even though that was not the culture they lived in at the time) and they laid their lives and their fortunes on the line to prove it. They succeeded, and their freedom produced the most prosperous nation the world has ever known.
But today, Barack Obama is right. The United States of America is desperately in need of a “fundamental transformation.” But that is not going to happen on a State or Federal level … at least, not until it happens in our hearts.
Then we will see a true, fundamental transformation of America.