This year, many biblical images have been upheld in the various political debates that have kept us guessing about the direction of the country. In the debates about the continuation of our country’s involvement in Afghanistan, the issue of being a nation that is standing up to the evils of the world was mentioned. We have been entrusted with this power in order to do good globally, which was another laudable idea. On the other hand, there were those who saw the war as evil and believed that the best thing that this administration could do was to bring the soldiers home and use the money to take care of the poor and needy in this country.
During the health debate, all sorts of godly issues were thrown around. God wants us to take care of the poor; God does not want to fleece the people who have resources; God is against debt; God wants the hard-working people to prosper. At certain times various people took the moral high ground, arguing that they would never give in to this type of financial situation. For about one week the pro-life people rallied around Senator Nelson because he was not going to give in. On Saturday, when he announced that he would support the bill, everyone saw how padded his vote was for the state of Nebraska.
As I was listening and reading, I started to think about what makes a righteous person. Genesis describes the people of Noah’s day as utterly corrupt. “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth has become, and that every inclination of his heart was only evil all the time.” (Gen. 6:5) In the midst of this corruption, Noah is introduced. “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time and he walked with God. “ (Gen. 6:12). The other righteous person is Abraham who decided to take nothing from the spoils of war. He says, “I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and I have taken an oath that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal so that you will never be able to say, “I have made Abraham rich” (Gen. 14:22-23).
Some pastors preach the gospel of health and wealth and they present themselves as the examples of such accomplishments. It was sad to see how so many sectors benefitted tremendously through the art of compromise utilized in writing this health care bill. Many senators did favors and received favors which had nothing to do with the bill. As the debates went on, I asked myself if there was a righteous senator in Washington, DC who had not sold out to a group or who was not there to make himself rich.
For me, Richard Wurmbrand was a righteous person. During one of my visits to his house, my sister remarked, “Take a good look at the living room furniture.” When we left the house, my sister said to me, “It is the same furniture that we saw there about 10 years ago.” Wurmbrandt was one of the best fundraisers for the cause of the persecuted Christians. He raised millions of dollars every year. Some of his friends insisted that he should get better clothes, buy himself a better house and furnish it with newer furniture for the guests who constantly came through his house. Yet as my sister observed, he remained a simple man, dressed humbly in his Lutheran garb, and kept the same furniture that he had when he came to this country. He remained poor his entire life, while providing release from prisons to thousands, and food and clothing for those who desperately needed it.
Because he dealt with righteousness, when people were in his company they felt that they were in the company of a holy, a righteous man.
In Proverbs 14:34 we read; “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” I pray that our political leaders and we as a nation will embrace righteousness in our time for our sake and for the sake of the generations that will come after us.