We’re in deep doo-doo

If you had a choice of how America will be judged for all the evil things done and being done here, what would it be? Here are some possibilities:

  1. military conquest by a ruthless, dictatorial nation
  2. annihilation in a nuclear war
  3. a nationwide, deadly epidemic
  4. an enormous asteroid colliding with earth in the middle of the Great Plains
  5. an invasion of menacing aliens

Which seems the least cataclysmic to you? There are other possible modes of divinely decreed destruction, but if God allowed us to choose from these five options, which would you prefer? That may seem like a ridiculous suggestion…God giving us a choice of how to punish us…but the Bible actually records an instance when he did just that. You can read about it here.

Based on other things the Bible records, I think it’s safe to say that, unless we experience another Great Awakening, however and whenever judgment comes, it will come. Someday. Though there is much good being done in these United States, and many faithful believers living lives “worthy of the Lord,” I am quite certain that if we saw all the evil that God sees, including within our own circle of family and friends, it would stagger and stun us.

So here’s another list.

  1. sexual molestation of children
  2. abortion
  3. production and consumption of pornography
  4. sexual immorality
  5. abandonment of children by their fathers
  6. racist prejudging
  7. breaking of marriage vows
  8. adultery
  9. perpetrating falsehoods
  10. neglecting to give children the stable, loving home they need because of selfish desires

This is a non-comprehensive list of evils committed daily by millions in this country alone. It doesn’t even include murder, physical assault, theft, and other crimes. Most of us clearly see the legitimacy of divine judgment on ruthless, murderous groups like ISIS that hack off the heads of their captives, but is the repeated sexual abuse of a seven-year-old girl any less evil? I think not.

And many if not most of us would rejoice to witness a gigantic fireball from heaven nosedive into the desert hideout where ISIS is holding its annual convention. We know they deserve judgment, and our sense of justice mandates it. But what many if not most of us don’t know is that as great as America is and has been, we deserve it too. We may not produce ruthless, brazen, and suicidal terrorist groups or allow government-led mass killings or starvations, still our society is saturated with evils less dramatic but just as ugly. And we certainly have plenty who harbor the kind of hatred motivating the evil deeds. And didn’t someone in the Gospels equate hatred with murder?

So there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that the stench of evil is quickly overpowering the aroma of good, and we deserve God’s judgment. The good news is that he is merciful and may relent if we repent. The story of Jonah is not primarily about him being swallowed by a whale and regurgitated after three days. It’s about how God loved the unrighteous people of Ninevah enough to send Jonah to warn them of impending doom if they didn’t change their ways. And how they did, and he didn’t. Go through with his threatened judgment, that is.

God help us to hear and believe the Jonahs of our day.