bruce_woodIn the last few weeks our nation has been embroiled in a national discourse surrounding the way in which our government borrows, collects and spends money. Politicians and pundits on each end of the political spectrum were often seen and heard dispensing their particular talking points and trying to sell the American people on the consequences if one or more of their particular policy issues were not adopted as a solution. In the end a deal was crafted and passed, the country suffered a financial downgrade and the markets have been vacillating ever since.

“What,” you might be thinking, “has this anything to do with Jesus?” It actually is quite simple. While we as a nation were paying attention to market fluctuations and hurling insults at each other over our money we were NOT paying attention to the deficit we have been accruing on morality in this nation. We have been paying attention to how our national debt affects the elderly, the young, the rich, the poor and every political and social class in between. But what we haven’t been focused on is the behaviors that are slowly changing beneath us and the basic respects that are eroding away before our very eyes.

We have to look no further than London, Philadelphia, Jerusalem and Athens for examples of people (mostly the younger generations) taking to the streets to burn, destroy, steal and take lives. We see it in the 50 teens so far taken into custody in Philadelphia because they could not respect a curfew put in place for their protection against rioters and looters. We see it in a culture that glorifies the killing of police officers, the abuse and objectification of women, and the hyper-sexualization of younger and younger generations. We see it in the lack of personal accountability, integrity and respect.

But how can we as a culture change when even our own leaders embody these ideals? For example, during the debt debate in Washington it was revealed that an Oregon Congressman had an “aggressive, unwanted sexual encounter” with a young teenager. Beyond the nature of the crime being horrible it was then announced that the Representative would tender his resignation…but only after the vote to resolve the debt crisis. What kind of message does this send to our kids and to our nation as a whole? It is okay for our leaders to abuse young girls and stay in power so long as they are voting for what we want? Really?

Now, before people accuse me of wanting a return to 1950’s style society I want to clear a few things up. First, it’s not the 1950’s. Aggressive Institutional segregation has beyond thankfully ended, women have been freed from restrictive social constraints and we are in an age of limitless technological and economic change. These are not in and of themselves naturally corrupt things. But when we as a society DO corrupt these things we should not be surprised when we face a “deficit of morality” that far outrivals our fiscal deficit.

We have lost some of the better aspects of our generations past. Things like basic respect for other persons’ life and property. Biblical principles such as “love for all persons” regardless of who they are, true “justice” for those who are wronged, and a return to the “Golden Rule” of “do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” Maybe we should think about that as a society before we tear down a strip mall and steal all their goods – would those same people not feel just as violated if someone were to come to their homes and do the same? And what of those who believe police officers should be shot and glorify those (especially in music) principles? Would they be so quick if it was a person they loved, who was providing for them or their families and trying to be a good parents or husband or person?

And what of our leaders? Are we really okay with cheats, pedophiles, liars and abusers leading our people? I grant you that they are not everyone in Washington and around our nation, but should we even allow a hint of it? Does not the public glorification (through media) of one condemn us all?

We need to turn our hearts today…to solve the morality crisis.