There is a great deal of agreement, even among adversaries, that President Donald Trump gave an extraordinary speech before Congress and the American public. While the Democrats in attendance spent much of their time seated, many citizens, including Democrats at home, were much impressed.
While the president did not address the following issues specifically, there are major controversies – ranging from more welfare, homosexual rights, gun control, Bible reading in public schools, prayers on military bases – brewing all across America today. The arguments, full of zeal on both sides, rage. One side is filled with passion based on belief in principle, the other with equal passion based on procedures designed to prohibit.
Allow me to address a biblical principle, but first let me restate a point I have made on several occasions in various commentaries: The Bible is not a religious book. It is a book of transcendent principles designed to maximize all aspects of life through the exercise of our free will. I call it “decisionability.”
The principle is articulated thusly, for instance: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6, NIV).
This is especially true today. Children need a clearly defined moral framework in which to learn and grow, then they will learn to exercise their sovereign “decisionability” via their life experiences.
The primary means of building healthy, universal principles into their lives is by teaching them the difference between principle and procedure. A principle is an inner settled conviction that guides one’s behavior and life; a procedure is an external policy or method imposed from outside.
Today, children are not taught the difference. They are not taught that it is permissible to compromise on procedure, but never on principle.
Additionally, the principles taught our children with words must be backed up with actions. Actions have consequences. If you bend, and keep, a young sapling growing in a given direction, in a few short years you will have a tree bent in that direction.
Children of abusive parents often grow up to become abusers. Children of rigid, legalistic, ultra-religious parents sometimes grow up the same, or they reject and totally abandon their past. Children without solid, secure, moral principles find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to make decisions on something as old fashioned as simple “right” or “wrong.”
This is evident when one reviews many of the decisions made by members of local, state and national governing bodies today, and it is the basis for many of the constantly emerging problems currently facing America. We are seeing the results of multiple generations of people now that are unaware of the simple truth that there are moral absolutes – that there is such a thing as “right” and “wrong.”
American liberties are founded upon these Christian principles: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights …”
Our freedoms and right to life and liberty are based upon principles; they are not contingent on a particular political party in power, or liberal or conservative judges ruling on procedures.
Unfortunately, procedures are now replacing moral absolutes, creating chaos and confusion in our country.
Whether you are Republican, Democrat, independent, liberal, conservative or none of the above, if we desire a country with continuing liberty and justice for all, we must ensure that future generations will grow up to become wise, decision-able individuals operating with a full awareness of their own God-given sovereignty, secure in their ability make right, versus wrong, choices.
As Americans, our goal, regardless of political affiliation, should be to give future generations a solid foundation based upon unchanging moral precepts and principles, operating within a stable, yet flexible, framework of negotiable procedures.
As we settle in for the next four (or eight) years under a Trump administration, let us never lose sight of the truth that America’s greatness rests not in, or with, political candidates, government appointees or political parties, but rather in the firm moral principles held by God-fearing citizens who believe and hold fast to truth.