This article appeared originally in the May 1999 issue of The Bible Meditator, when it was still published as a mail out paper. While this article spoke of a different president whom many wanted to impeach, I think this article still applies for the current situation, in which many have called for an impeachment. Don Ruhl
By Don Ruhl
As disturbing as the president’s actions have been, it is more troubling to see how a majority of the people respond to sin.
“The People Could Have What They Want—And That’s The Problem” (Joel Belz)
We can blame the president, but we make a mistake if we lay all the blame at his feet. How different would things have turned out, if the American people did not ignore his sin and their own sins?
Jeremiah 5:30, 31 remind us that this situation is not new with modern America, for this horrifying thing has happened in Judah’s history also:
An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end? (Jer. 5:30, 31).
What is frightening is the implication of that last sentence. There is an end coming to the people who give approval to wicked rulers. The end will not be good, for He questions what those people will do at that time, that is, what God would do to punish them would be very severe.
Sadly, the president’s life is not an exception to many American’s lives, but a representation of it. Think about the way Americans and American Christians live. For example, consider television. Joel Belz, the publisher of World magazine said:
More than a dozen years ago, Charles Colson told some of us of a conversation he had with a major TV network executive. “Why don’t you folks schedule more uplifting material?” Mr. Colson asked. “I’ll tell you why,” the fellow responded heatedly. “Did you happen to notice that we scheduled Chariots of Fire this past Sunday evening? And did you see how we got clobbered by the competition from another network—which was a sleazy story about two prostitutes?’ Some in the crowd where Mr. Colson told the story argued feebly that it wasn’t a fair test since so many of the potential audience might have been attending the evening services of their churches. But such optimists obviously haven’t been counting attendance at evening services during the last few years (“Impeach the People,” World, Jan. 16, 1999, Volume 14, Number 2, http://www.worldmag.com/world/issue/01-16-9/opening_2.asp).
It may be true that many Christians simply watch little or no television anymore, but most, if not all, own a television. Are we using discernment in what we watch? What are Christians doing anyway, who do not come on Sunday nights? Are they watching television or a video? If so, what is the nature of it?
What About Us?
Do we Christians let material prosperity be the gauge of whether we are doing things right or not? This is how people are reasoning concerning the government. Just as long as I have my slice of the pie, do not change anything, do not impeach the president. If I am doing well financially, so what if gross sin is occurring. Listen to Jeremiah 6:15:
“Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; Nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time I punish them, They shall be cast down,” says the LORD (Jer. 6:15).
If we are not suffering at the moment for sinful living, do we conclude that God has ignored our impenitent sin? Psalm 50:18–21 gives us something to tremble about, for it not only addresses the one who is sinning, but also the one who gives consent:
When you saw a thief, you consented with him, And have been a partaker with adulterers. You give your mouth to evil, And your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; You slander your own mother’s son. These things you have done, and I kept silent; You thought that I was altogether like you; But I will rebuke you, And set them in order before your eyes (Ps. 50:18–21).
We Are Overdosing On Non-Judgmentalism
The population believes absolutes do not exist, and that truth is relative. So it is not uncommon to hear people say they do not personally approve of many of the president’s actions, but they will ask you: “who am I to judge?” I agree with one of the victims of the Unabomber, who said we need to put away this attitude which says we should not judge.
The truth is everyone judges everyday. The Bible teaches we must judge. Usually Matthew 7:1 is misinterpreted to forbid us from judging, but if the whole context is read, then it is discovered what Jesus really said, that hypocritical judging is forbidden.
Does this mean we can go overboard in judging? No, but Jesus does expect us to help our brother when he is in sin, and this requires making some judgments or decisions (which is what the word “judge” means). John 7:24 is another passage from the mouth of the Jesus: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24).
I was at a school function in 1998 when one of our local judges prefaced a remark by saying that she did not want to be judgmental, but…
Even someone who makes a living at judging is afraid of sounding judgmental! We are not helping our society, the church and ourselves by overdosing on nonjudgmentalism.
Whatever Happened To Decency?
Most Americans agree that America’s Commander-In-Chief lied under oath, committed adultery and other sins. However, most also say he is doing a good job as president, so just ignore his sins. People must be reasoning in one of the following ways.
“Who am I to judge?” (which I have already refuted).
“Everyone lies, especially politicians.” Psalm 116:11 gives the wisdom of the psalmist, who acknowledged that he at first made this same mistake, but realized he said it in his haste: “I said in my haste, ‘All men are liars’” (Ps. 116:11). Of course, everyone has lied, but he is speaking of everyone being a habitual liar, one whose regular way of operating is lying. In this sense it is wrong to say every man is a liar, or that every politician is a liar. Even if everyone lies, that does not change the fact that it is wrong.
“The economy is all that matters.” This really does seem to be the main factor in people’s judgment. This shows that materialism has dominated people’ thinking. This kind of thinking puts worldliness above spirituality; it fails to recognize that greater forces determine the prosperity or adversity of our country and it gives all the credit for a good or bad economy to one man.
“He is no different than other politicians.” If other politicians are just as bad, that makes no difference. They would all be guilty of sin, and accountable to God, and will be punished by God, if they do not repent. Do we remember Exodus 23:2 which commands: “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice” (Ex. 23:2)? Romans 1:32 gives an interesting comment the people of America need to hear, and it is the basis of this article. After giving a lengthy list of sins that result when people reject God, here is what Paul wrote: “who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them (Rom. 1:32).
“I’ve had enough, so I’ve stopped paying attention.” This is an easy road to take, but it can lead to disaster. Matthew 5:4 should be brought up at this point: “Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted” (Mt. 5:4). In America we tend to think that what our neighbor does is not a concern, as long as he is not bothering or hurting anyone else. Let me remind you of a truth from Haggai 2:11–14:
Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Now, ask the priests concerning the law, saying, ‘If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?’ Then the priests answered and said, ‘No.’ And Haggai said, ‘If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?’ So the priests answered and said, ‘It shall be unclean.’ Then Haggai answered and said, ‘So is this people, and so is this nation before Me,’ says the LORD, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean’” (Hag. 2:11–14).
Uncleanness spreads itself. Cleanness does not. Can you throw a clean cloth into a pile of dirty cloths and make them clean? No. Can you throw an oil-soaked cloth into a pile of clean cloths and make them dirty? Yes.
This is also true spiritually, which is the point God was making with His people through Haggai. Evil is not stagnant. When your neighbor becomes wicked, it will spread. Therefore if you think ignoring the sins of a public figure who either does not repent or refuses to accept the punishment, does not affect you, then you have either been deceived or are deceiving yourself.
“I like having a president who is just like me.” Leaders are supposed to lift us higher. Which means they should be on a higher moral plane, otherwise how can they help us to be better people?
Why Should We Care About What Has Gone On?
Most people have treated adultery in the White House as inconsequential, because it supposedly does not deal with how he runs the country. It is a matter of concern because it marks the erosion of morality. Samuel Adams wrote a friend in 1775: “He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard for his country” (Human Events, p. 8, Vol. 54, No. 36, September 25, 1998).
It is interesting that an adulterous affair with Donna Rice caused Gary Hart to withdraw from presidential campaigning in 1988, but since 1992, most people seemed to delight in immorality.
What most Americans do not seem to know is that God’s laws are higher than any law of man. God made heterosexual, monogamous, lifetime marriage the only realm for sex. Therefore Hebrews 13:4 says: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Marriage is to be honored in your house and in the White House.
First Corinthians 7:1–4 makes it obvious that any kind of sexual touching should not be engaged in, except for a husband and a wife, no matter how someone tries to define it:
Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does (1 Cor. 7:1–4).
Concerning lying, the Bible is very blunt. Proverbs 6:16–19 provides a list of seven things Yahweh hates:
These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: … A lying tongue, … A heart that devises wicked plans, … A false witness who speaks lies, … (Prov. 6:16–19).
Revelation 21:8 does not make an exception for politicians to lie: “… all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8).
How Do Ruthless Leaders Come Into Power?
How is it that Slobodan Milosevic is the ruler of his country? How did Saddam Hussein come into power and how does he stay in power? How did Hitler become the leader of Germany? How did Stalin get into power? How did Absalom manage to take over his father’s kingdom, at least momentarily? How did Jeroboam become the first king of Israel after the kingdom split, and how did he keep the people from going back to Jerusalem? Did they just walk in solo and say they were in charge and everyone said okay?
Every time I hear our national leaders say we have something only against the leaders mentioned above, but not the people, I realize that it is either propaganda to cause the people to rebel against their leader, or to realize they will face the brutal assault of our army, or they are ignorant about how leaders come into power. Elected leaders in America should know exactly how they get into office. When I first heard of Saddam Hussein, I wondered how his people could put him into power. In the case of Saddam Hussein, and every other ruthless dictator the world has seen, he promised his people economic prosperity and other material blessings, and he gave it. The people’s attitude was they did not care what he did, just as long as he took care of them. Second Samuel 15:1–6 shows what happened in the days of Absalom, the son of David:
After this it happened that Absalom provided himself with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. So it was, whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision, that Absalom would call to him and say, “What city are you from?” And he would say, “Your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel.” Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you.” Moreover Absalom would say, “Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice.” And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel (2 Sam. 15:1–6).
The story of Jeroboam is even more detailed:
And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.” Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!” (1 Ki. 12:26–28).
He … made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi. Jeroboam ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah, … (1 Ki. 12:31–33).
… again he made priests from every class of people for the high places; whoever wished, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places (1 Ki. 13:33).
When people say their national ruler can do anything he wants, as long as he gives them what they want, we have the recipe for a future dictator or other brutal leader, and it will be our fault.
Unjust In Little, Unjust In Much
Does it matter what a leader does in private? Yes. Look at the qualifications of elders. Why did the same media and people in America not say that what these following men did in private did not matter? Bob Packwood, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert, and others.
Luke 16:10 reveals the principle that what we do in small things is an indication of what we will do on a larger scale: “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much” (Lk. 16:10).
What If The Church Conducted Itself In Like Manner?
We might be surprised how many people would like to find a church which endorses all those things. I know the world would not approve of the church operating in the manner of our president, because the world has always said they will not be members of the church because, according to the world, the church is full of hypocrites.
Therefore, Impeach The People Who Consent To Immorality And Engage In It
Those who have engaged willingly in sin with the president are not victims, but are just as guilty before God. The people are impeached by the Holy Spirit, as Jesus said:
And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged (Jn. 16:8–11).
If you do not want God to impeach you, then repent. Look at your sin, and see the danger you are in before God. Humble yourself before the cross of Jesus Christ, for that is the only way to be free from impeachment by God. America is in a moral meltdown. Make sure you are not caught in it.