This past weekend has left the United States in a tiff. Ok, maybe more like a blood feud. A video was released of presidential hopeful Donald Trump demeaning women at best, condoning sexual assault at worst; the presidential debate was a joke; and completely ignored by mainstream news coverage is the report that eleven Christians were murdered by ISIS in Syria because they had converted from Islam and refused to denounce Christ. Included in this number was a 12 year old boy whom the terrorists tortured by cutting off his fingertips in front of his father with the hopes of convincing them to convert, and two women who were publicly raped and tortured. Many of those who have heard of this tragedy return to the conversation about the election chanting, “We must stop ISIS” and then proclaim their presidential choice as the answer. Trump will squash ISIS. Hillary has more experience and a real plan for our foreign affairs. But you know what folks? The president of the United States is not the answer.
Jesus is the answer.
I know it sounds cliche. I grew up singing the song, “Jesus is the answer for the world today, above Him there’s no other, Jesus is the way!” And while it sounds so simple and childlike, it is the profound truth. No governmental leadership will provide a solution by which every worldview will be appeased. No amount of force or murder will eradicate evil from the Middle East or the United States. Even if we could convince our general population that love is the answer, we would all have different opinions about what love is and what love means. Should we openly accept, condone and affirm every decision and worldview, or should we seek one another’s best by helping each other make wise decisions, even if that means we encourage change?
Our politicians, ISIS, and each of us individually, however, simply need Jesus. We are wicked. We are sinners. Yes, Donald Trump tried to get a married woman to sleep with him and bragged about his ability to do whatever he wants to with women because he is “a star”. Yes, ISIS beheaded, tortured and crucified eleven Christians. Yes, we have treated one another with disrespect and hatred because of our individual political affiliations and choices. And all of that is nothing more than wicked people doing wicked things – to various extents. The Bible teaches us that we were born in iniquity (Ps 51.5), and that we are by nature children of wrath (Eph 2.3). This means that apart from Jesus, all we can do is sin. We are destined and doomed to evil deeds.
Along these lines, the Bible teaches us some pretty hard truths. Apart from Jesus we are:
– Dead in sin (Eph 2.3).
– Lovers of darkness (John 3.19-20)
– Haters of light (John 3.19-20)
– Hard like stone (Ez 36.26, Eph 4.18)
– Unable to love or submit to God (Rom 8.7-8)
What does all of that mean? We might look pretty on the outside – like white washed tombs (Matt 23.27-28). We might put on a good, moralistic act, but it is with wicked and selfish motives. We all sin, and we will all continue to sin because it is our nature (1 John 1.8).
We all need Jesus. I need Jesus. You need Jesus. Trump and Hillary need Jesus. ISIS needs Jesus. The answer is not to go in and wipe “them” out. There is always someone else who is wicked to replace “them”. But to see “them” fundamentally changed will save their souls and change their impact on their worlds.
Jesus found Paul – the foremost persecutor (read: murderer) of the Church and changed him from the core, making him into the world’s most dynamic missionary and teacher. If God can change and use Paul, He can change and use ISIS. He can change and use Hillary. He can change and use Trump. He can change and use you and me. There are, in fact, fairly regular reports of Muslims and radical extremists coming to faith and proclaiming Jesus. Such are those who were murdered this weekend.
We spend so much time trying to separate our church and state, but the reality is that Jesus is the only hope for the state. Even if we solve immigration, balance out our taxes and health care, and live at peace with the world, we are all still sinners and headed to an eternity of judgment and damnation. If we, however, confess our sins and turn to God for salvation through Jesus, we will be saved eternally and enabled to die to our sins and our love one another. We will be able to put one another first and see true and real peace. We will be able to love. Jesus is the answer.