Pulpit Reflections

The founding fathers of the United States on July 4, 1776 not only signed the Declaration of Independence, they pledged to one another their lives, their fortunes and their "sacred honor." This was an act of tremendous courage and commitment seldom equaled in world history. Men from scattered locations in the Colonies bound themselves together to carry out a cause to a triumphant, or to a bitter end.

While we might understand the great commitment of a person's life or fortune, the idea of "sacred honor," which these men considered their greatest possession, has been lost to many Americans today. Honorable men were men who refused to lie, steal, and commit adultery and especially to not keep their word. These people, who had the same desires to do otherwise, they knew that they would lose their honor, not only before others, but especially before themselves if they gave in to those temptations.

Now these men also called their honor "sacred," which means holy, or pure and incorruptible, a purity that they saw as coming from God Himself. God is a holy God, He cannot be touched with evil or disrespect, and these men took seriously God's commandment, "you be holy, for I am holy." In other words, these men, as they said at the end of the Declaration, saw God as the final and greatest witness to their lives.

Interestingly, this idea of God as the greatest witness to our lives is also stated in the Bible concerning marriage vows. In Malachi 2:14, the prophet demands that men and women do not break their marriage vows because, "God has been witness between you and the wife of your youth…" This is why we have church weddings. God promises to be present in the worship of His people, so we take our vows there, in the presence of God and His people. These vows, too, ought then to be sacred, vows that may never be broken.

Now, unfortunately, and dangerously for our nation, there is virtually nothing holy for us today. Marriage vows are broken every day. Men and women simply cannot trust each other "until death do us part."

"What God has joined together," is easily broken asunder by our courts. For many people, marriage vows are not sacred at all, nor are contracts, as farmers who sold corn to alcohol plants at a contract price found out when the courts invalidated those contracts.

We have become in many respects a profane nation. We revel in profane language in public, including the taking of God's name in vain. Sex is no longer a sacred act reserved for couples who have taken and will keep their vows of faithfulness for life. Our national flag is profaned publicly with no consequences.

Children talk back and disobey their parents, with the support of our courts and laws. No relationship is sacred any more, and no one ever talks about sacred honor in our nation. And this goes from the bottom to the top of our society. High government officials are often revealed as adulterers, young women and men engage in "hooking up," a nice way of saying, "we have sex with no commitment at all."

At the bottom of this profanation of our nation is a profaning of the one true God who gave us this nation. Very few of us have ever thought of not shopping on Sunday, which is God's commanded day of rest, even though every one of the original 48 states had "blue laws," laws against commercial activity on Sunday. While most of us think we are too "grown up," or "liberated," to even consider hallowing God's day of rest these days, the result is that when we don't respect God, there is not much respectable about us.

America has lost a great deal of respect from other nations of the world, and even from ourselves. This really ought to be of great concern to every citizen.

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