One of the sad ironies of being a Christian living in the "Land of the Free", is that our "freedom" has resulted in a decay of our society and has enslaved many.
As Father John Corapi said, we live under a false premise in society that Freedom is the ability to do whatever you want to do. That is license and we have become a very licentious society. Freedom is supposed to be a good thing but there is a fine line here. God gave us free will, but freedom also gives us the ability to choose good or evil. And unfortunately, our lawmakers have given us too much "freedom".
As Father Corapi points out, "the more you abuse Freedom, the more you lose Freedom." Under the pretext of Freedom, many people today have become prisoners of sin or worldly things: materialism, drug addictions, alcohol abuse, pornography and a host of selfish pursuits that take away from our spouses and children.
- 1 Corinthians 8:9: Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.
- Galatians 5:13: You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
What is the result our "freedom" as Americans? Unhappiness, depression and guilt later in life, the degradation of our society, broken families from the above problems and "No-fault divorce" laws that easily split families and make a mockery out of the "Until death do us part" sacrament of marriage. Want proof of the state of our nation? Anti-depressants are the most prescribed drugs in America today. (link)
Everything on earth is of God but the spirit of this world is not--we live in a fallen world. Just turn on the television and see shows like "Sex and The City" which glorifies promiscuity and all the sex, drug use and violence in the movies. On the political front, liberalism and radical feminism has pushed for abortion on demand, No-Fault Divorce (aka divorce on demand), and Gay/Lesbian marriage. The Domestic Church (The Family Unit) and building block our society is under attack and endanger.
Three out of four Americans are Christians: WE are the majority. We have to take control of our lives, our country and help those around us to keep them on the path of God. As Christian parents, we need to care about what our children are watching on television, the music they are listening to and the computer games they are playing. If their eyes are filled with things that glorify sex, drugs and violence, don't be shocked later with the output. As Father Corapi says, its GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out). Put Godly things into the portals of our souls and Godly things will come out.
As a loving parent, remember discipline is needed. It is OK to be soft-hearted but dont be soft-headed. Most importantly, don't follow the standard of what other parents allow their kids to do. You should aspire for your children to be of good moral character, to be leaders and hopefully model citizens prepared for the world when they become adults. You aren't going to get this following the ways and norms of the secular world on childrearing.
In marriage, God has a divine plan for the Domestic Church. Husbands need to be spiritual leaders of the home and love their wives as themselves like Christ loves the Church. Wives need to submit and respect their husbands. The latter goes contrary to American culture and radical feminism which preaches women to be independent and that men are immaterial. Every woman needs to be financially independent but independence and doing whatever you want goes against the grain of marriage when two become one flesh.
In the current culture, is it any surprise that two out of every three divorces are initiated by women? Is it any surprise the U.S. has one of the highest divorce rates of any industrialized nation in the world? Is it any surprise that behavorial disorders and criminal behavior is strongly linked to fatherless homes? (link) The breakdown of our society is largely due to the breakdown of the Dometic Church.
Women's Lib/Men's Lib
We must realize that real Liberation and Freedom is found in Christ and that real authentic human freedom cannot exist apart from the truth. It is no better stated than in the Catechism of The Catholic Church:
Liberation and salvation. By his glorious Cross Christ has won salvation for all men. He redeemed them from the sin that held them in bondage. "For freedom Christ has set us free." In him we have communion with the "truth that makes us free." The Holy Spirit has been given to us and, as the Apostle teaches, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." Already we glory in the "liberty of the children of God." CCC 1741
A couple of scriptures that support this:
- John 8:31-36: To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?" Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
- Romans 8:1-2: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
- Galatians 5:1: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Why we have failed
We Christians have failed because we have been complacent, weak, spineless and silent. We have been silent by failing to vote, silent by not writing our politicians on key moral issues. We have been silent with family and friends who stumble in their daily lives. We have adapted the philosophy that if it doesn't hurt or affect me, it doesn't matter. As Father Corapi said: "How else can you participate in the sin of another, BY SILENCE! And we have had a deafening silence for too many years." (link)
CCC 1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them: 1) by participating directly and voluntarily in them; 2) by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them; 3) by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so; 4) by protecting evil-doers.
Ultimately, we all are paying for the silence of sin.
Why have we been silent? Because we don't want to take a stand for God. Jesus wasn't afraid to take a stand.
- Matthew 21:12-13: Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," he said to them, " 'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'"
As Christians, we have been misguided into silence by the thinking "He who is free of sin, cast the first stone." It is important to note here that Jesus made this comment to a woman caught in the act of adultery, at a time when adulterers were stoned to death. If we take the viewpoint that we are sinners and should remain silent because we too sin, then we are a doomed society. Who then, will be eligible to raise us up on earth and steer us down the right path towards God? Because every pastor, preacher, or priest is a sinner as well.
It is also important to note that Jesus did not condemn the adulterous women but he did say "Go and sin no more!" As Christians, we have to be an instrument of Christ, we have to raise eachother up and not condemn those who sin: love the sinner, hate the sin. If we truly love our family and friends, we have to will the very best thing for them: heaven and eternal life.
- James 5:19-20: Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
And as Christians, the best way to lead a brother or sister down the right path is being a living example of scripture ourselves.
- 1 Timothy 4:12: Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
- Titus 2:7-8: In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
- Romans 8:9: You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
In the battle between good and evil, between God and Satan, we all know who is victorious in the end from Revelations. Don't you want to be apart of the winning team? Don't you want your family and friends to be on the winning side as well? Do you care enough about the world our children will inherit?
Then stop being a silent spectator!
- Ephesians 2:1-2: As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
Don't give into sin and the ways of the world, free the Holy Spirit inside of you and let it make a difference to those around us and in the world.
© Michael J. Cox