Give Us What We Want!

You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.    James 4:2-4

I ran across an article last month about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  Thomas made the statement that the Supreme Court has become the most dangerous branch of the government.  It never used to be that way.

‘The court was thought to be the least dangerous branch and we may have become the most dangerous,’ Thomas said. ‘And I think that’s problematic.’

He made this comment – and expanded on it – in light of politicians arguing over packing the court.  In other words, adding justices to the Supreme Court to get in appointees who will swing decisions their way.

He said that justices do not rule on their ‘personal preferences’ and the country’s leaders ‘should not allow others to manipulate our institutions when we don’t get the outcome that we like…When we begin to venture into the legislative or executive branch lanes, those of us, particularly in the federal judiciary with lifetime appointments, are asking for trouble.’

‘I think the media makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference. So if they think you are antiabortion or something personally, they think that’s the way you always will come out,’ the justice said, per the Washington Post. They think you’re for this or for that. They think you become like a politician.’  

‘That’s a problem. You’re going to jeopardize any faith in the legal institutions.’

Think on it; if a Supreme Court Justice starts legislating from the bench, there are no longer any checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches.  The system gets short-circuited!

Unfortunately, this is where we are as a society, as a world even!  When we can’t get what we what within a system, we start gaming that system, looking for short-cuts that “allow” us to cheat.

Perhaps we can thank advertisers who have bombarded us for years with slogans like “Rules are made to be broken” followed not long after by “Break all the rules!”  Then there is the feeble excuse that someone operated “within the system” even though they gamed it with technicalities.  They argue that they do whatever they want so long as they at least can appear to follow the letter of the law.

But law and rules are more about intent, which is why we have a judiciary to try and keep things in check.  Indeed, the Founding Fathers knew this about humanity and tried to provide such safeguards.  I am tempted to think that they wrote the Constitution with their hearts in their throats, knowing that it depended on good behavior in the first place.

John Adams wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

That statement gives the lie to our current concept of “separation of church and state.”  That phrase originally was addressing the religious persecution by governments over practice of either Catholicism or Protestantism.  Recall that people were tortured to force conversion to one or the other by the state!

The intent was never to remove faith in God and use of His ways from government and society.  It was to prevent persecution for being Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, or any other expression of following God.

We have lost our way after decades of not allowing prayer in schools and removing God from consideration when governing.  Indeed, our society now is not one of community but of self.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.”

Society determines how its members will conduct themselves and each individual affects how society will continue.

The same holds true of our churches; if we don’t get what we want from them or God, we try to change them.  We form our own interpretation of God and Scripture, trying to game The Almighty!  Or we simply leave church and God behind altogether, which America has done for the most part.

If we don’t get what we want, we petulantly stalk away from either just the institution, God, or both.  The real tragedy is if someone is frustrated by a poor church teaching, they reject God!  I once pointed out to someone who was condemning the church to look to God instead.  If you have a problem with topic X, take it up with God.  Study His Word.

What if we want what’s bad for us?  Shall we stalk away from God for not doing us harm?  We often do!

Instead of telling God, “Give me what I want,” our prayer should be teach me what I should want!

2 thoughts on “Give Us What We Want!

  1. Jeff, your story reminds me of a guy whose doctor just told him he was diabetic. The doc said, “Jim, you can eat anything you want.” He then handed his patient a list of healthy foods . “Here’s what you’re gonna want.”

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