Disunited States: A Lesson We Must Learn

Police officers in Atlanta, Georgia, clash with protesters during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd.
Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Disunited States: A Lesson We Must Learn

The division in America highlights a crucial principle we must live by to survive.

Is it unjust to prejudge people according to their race? Is it wrong for people in the street to exact vigilante-style “justice” against strangers? Is it wrong to prejudicially condemn people for the sins of their forefathers? Is it criminal to steal and destroy property? Should every citizen be able to live and work free from fear of arbitrary violence? Until rather recently, societal consensus was an unqualified yes to all these questions. But suddenly, they are all topics of fierce contention.

Here is a crucial question: How long can society function if we cannot agree on such basic points?

The fact is that, as alarmed as many people are by the lawlessness plaguing America’s streets today, it seems very few grasp the existential nature of the problem. America is facing civil war. Bible prophecy specifically says it will happen.

One major reason is that we are violating a specific biblical principle of living. This principle is controversial today. But it is a foundational truth. And it vividly illustrates the relevance of the Bible for our day.

In a cbs News interview, here is how Nikole Hannah-Jones, the architect of the “1619 Project” for the New York Times, responded when asked to “interpret” the arson, thievery, criminality and violence in America’s cities: “Yes, it is disturbing to see property being destroyed; it is disturbing to see people taking property from stores. But these are things. And violence is when an agent of the state kneels on a man’s neck until all of the life is leeched out of his body. Destroying property which can be replaced is not violence. And to use the exact same language to describe those two things, I think, really—it’s not moral to do that. I think any reasonable person would say we shouldn’t be destroying other people’s property—but these are not reasonable times.”

To have mainstream voices advocating destruction, lawlessness and insurrection as appropriate and legitimate is unprecedented—and deeply corrosive to society’s survival.

“If somebody decides to loot a Gucci, or a Macy’s, or a Nike, that makes sure that person eats. That makes sure that person has clothes,” Ariel Atkins, the leader of Black Lives Matter in Chicago, told reporters. “That is reparations. Anything they wanna take, take it, because these businesses have insurance. They’re going to get their money back. My people aren’t getting anything.”

A short time ago, such thinking was simply inconceivable. Everyone knew that indiscriminate destruction was evil. There was no controversy over the foundational understanding that arson, theft, looting, physical assault and violence were crimes. Everyone agreed that people should be safe, and their property should be safe. Someone who owns a business should be able to run that business, provide jobs, deliver goods and services to the community, contribute to the economic health of society, and earn a living—without fearing or actually suffering hatred, violence and destruction.

Stunningly, this is no longer something we all agree on. Rioters, journalists, commentators, professors, and even mayors, governors and members of Congress—influential, powerful people—do not believe it. They now insist that criminal destruction of property and assault on fellow citizens is understandable, even acceptable, even righteous, for the sake of “social change” in this “historic moment.”

This spirit is changing America. Prodded by such reasoning, cities are defunding police and allowing the predictable increases in crimes. And even more astoundingly, a growing number of people don’t even recognize these as problems—because they view them as mere symptoms of the real problems of racism and inequality.

Behold the consequences of adopting moral relativism as our society has been for decades—even generations. People have lost their elemental sense of right and wrong. They cannot recognize evil even when it is lighting their own city on fire.

Here is where the Bible is so supremely valuable. It gives us absolute standards—our Creator’s laws of right and wrong—that never change. It is a refreshing contrast to the moral standards of leftists, which change from year to year and sometimes from moment to moment. Yesterday’s heroes are today’s villains. And the most blatant evils are excused or even glorified.

Consider a few examples.

The Bible says God is no respecter of persons. He evaluates based on a person’s character. He judges the heart, not the outward appearance. He holds everyone to the same unchanging standard of right and wrong.

Accepting this truth is critical to a fair, just, stable society. All societies are flawed, but less so the ones that treat each person as a child of God, made in God’s image. This idea is articulated in America’s Declaration of Independence—that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with rights that include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But many people have come to believe we must judge by appearance. They condemn people based not on character but on skin pigmentation. They are hating people, they are beating people, because of skin color. And they have convinced themselves that doing so is just.

Another example: The Bible is clear that every person is judged according to his own works. God says if you commit a crime, that is your fault. Nobody else’s. You must take responsibility. God focuses on developing individual character, and that starts with the individual taking responsibility. If you think all your problems are someone else’s fault, you will never repent. God wants each of us to see the evil in our own heart. That is the first step to growing and improving, to true happiness, to truly succeeding in life.

More and more people reject this foundational principle. They believe society is responsible for criminal behavior. They say for example that if a black man decides to commit a crime, it is because society is racist. People have come to believe society is so corrupt, citizens are no longer accountable for defying law enforcement, committing crimes and ruining communities. They don’t want to reform criminals, they want to incriminate society.

These two views are entirely incompatible and irreconcilable in a way that imperils society.

Another: The Bible says you are not held guilty for something your father or grandfather or great-grandfather did. Sons don’t bear their fathers’ sins, nor fathers their sons’ (Ezekiel 18:20). Society, by contrast, has come to believe that you can be guilty of sins committed generations ago. Slavery has been illegal in the United States for over 156 years—five or six generations—yet some insist that if you are white, you are still responsible. Some say racism is in your dna. This is a point on which there can be no agreement. The latter view is deeply, dangerously wrong and always will be.

Another: We have reached a point where we can no longer agree that family is a blessing, a crucially stabilizing institution that should be encouraged and strengthened. Many people now maintain that family is a form of oppression and should be abolished. To whatever degree a society embraces such toxic thinking, it is destined to crumble.

Even straightforward points like the fact that your sex is determined by your biology have become controversial. We are disputing basic facts of reality that undergird society—with people who are beyond reason, impervious to facts and logic, blind and deaf to truth. The people who have turned such simple truisms into issues of national hand-wringing, friction and rivalry are splintering our society.

Here too the Bible helps us understand the gravity of the danger. Jesus Christ said, A house divided against itself shall not stand. The more this trend grows, the more impossible it becomes to function as a cohesive nation. When there is virtually nothing we can all look at and accept as basic, foundational, irrefutable points—when there are no longer truths we hold to be self-evident—then it is impossible to resolve disputes, surmount obstacles, work toward common goals. We have no ground for harmonious coexistence, no basis for community. Life is simply unending conflict.

These are, as they say in the divorce courts, irreconcilable differences.

Anyone whose eyes are truly open sees this with crystal clarity. But it is remarkable how many people still act like somehow we can reconcile with this force of illogic, irresponsibility, instability, destruction and evil by trying to accommodate it. By accepting some of its demands.

But every concession leads to more demands. There is no satisfying this movement. It is not reasonable. It is not rational. It is purely and simply a force of destruction and evil.

Can you recognize this fact? This force is advancing by deceit and intimidation and force and violence. And people are making massive efforts to pacify it, accommodate it or negotiate with it for the simple reason that they are blind to evil. It’s as if they are looking at the devil himself in the eyes—and they don’t recognize him.

The Bible is absolutely clear about the existence of evil—and how important it is not to try to accommodate it. It says to flee from it, resist it, fight it. Put as much separation between you and it as possible. If you do not, you will end up like America: overcome by evil.

This is a profound point of godly living. The Apostle Paul writes about it in 2 Corinthians 6. He is talking to Church members, but this is a critical principle that applies universally. America is ignoring it at its peril.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (verses 14-15).

Today’s world vehemently disagrees. People think they can overcome evil by embracing it. God says that is a delusion. And the curses overwhelming America today, and the division that is swallowing us whole, vividly proves God right!

The Bible repeatedly emphasizes that evil corrupts and you cannot reconcile with it. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20). “Forsake the foolish, and live” (Proverbs 9:6). “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33; New King James Version).

Paul continues: “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:16-18).

Profound truth. Do you believe it? There are things God knows are unclean. He commands us not to even touch them. They are evil, God hates them, and He wants to protect you from being infected by them.

God says in Psalm 97:10, “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” Ignoring this command brings terrifying curses. Just look around.

This is a powerful lesson we need to learn from the division in America. The more that people try to resolve these issues their own way, the greater the divisions become and the more grievous the curses grow. Civil war has already begun.

Thankfully, God is going to use the suffering we are bringing on ourselves to teach us a lesson and ultimately to purify this nation. And He is about to establish a world that tolerates no evil, that conquers evil with good! (Romans 12:21). In that day, God will open people’s eyes to what they were doing. They will look on the crimes being committed today—in the name of justice—and plainly see how deceived they were! They will look back on how they were hating fellow human beings made in the image of God—and be ashamed of themselves. They will come to learn the absolute moral law of God—the law of love.

Look squarely at the division overwhelming America—and learn this invaluable lesson today. Learn and cling to God’s unchanging law. (Our booklet The Ten Commandments can help you.) Come to recognize evil. Use God’s absolute standards to come to see it clearly in the world around you—and in yourself, so you can repent, change and grow. Read our editor in chief’s booklet How to Be an Overcomer: Win Your War Against Sin, chock-full of practical instruction on this crucial process. And do your personal part to overcome evil with good.