|Russian President Vladimir Putin (Yuri Kochetkov/REUTERS)|
It hurts -- especially when it comes from an adversary. But what really galls is when the rebuke has truth in it, truth we cannot dismiss as just a dig.
It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal. (Mr. Putin's Op-Ed NYT)
It stung; it made me mad, and many Representatives and Senators expressed their outrage. Social commentators and comics right away mocked Mr. Putin’s dismissal of the homosexual rights agenda as the a log in his eye. (Matthew 7:3)
But Americans and American Christians should pause and consider that indeed the world is on equal footing before a holy God who is our Creator and Sustainer. (John 1:3; Psalm 145) And nobody has an excuse for any of our conduct.
Americans and American Christians have done exceptional things in our brief history on this continent – and we have done some shameful things. We have fought and died for the well being of others, and we have stood by while others were harmed – worse, some Americans, claiming to be Christians, have harmed people whom we should have protected. I believe we do very much more good than evil; but even a scintilla of wrongdoing undermines our standing before God.
It hurt to be rebuked by a man who himself is no stranger to strong-arm, cruel machinations – but from whom would we tolerate such demanding words?
God spoke through creation – the Bible, and spelled out the problem to Belshazzar, that described all our problems: we have been weighed, and found wanting. (The Writing on the Wall)
Being exceptional does not impress God; no amount of doing good can fix what we have broken – for what we broke belongs to Another. (Psalm 24)
I am praying our leaders aren’t paying lip-service to God; for America, and all citizens; for Syria and those within her borders and for Russia, and all her citizens. And for that matter, I pray that for thee and me, gentler reader – for it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31)
Today many of us have a breathing space – let’s not harden our hearts to the truth, even it comes from a man we distrust. We are all equal before God – and I am not sure that’s much to boast about.
But God's angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth . . . They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives . . . (Romans 1:18-31 The Message)
Mr. Putin, whether he understood or not, spoke the truth – Thank God for the Cross!
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:15-16)