Most often when a house is permanently divided, it is calamitous, but in the current debt ceiling debate, there is virtue.
Abraham Lincoln said in his famous "House Divided" speech on June 16, 1858, speaking to the issue of slavery and paraphrasing Jesus, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
"I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free...I do not expect the house to fall...but I do expect it to cease to be divided...It will become all one thing or all the other."
A moral truth. His statement was divisive beyond description at the time. His former business partner, lawyer Leonard Swett, predicted Lincoln had sealed his own demise. But Lincoln was right. He stood with Truth. And the rest is history.
The debt ceiling debate is the prelude of a much greater issue than just next year's budget and debt. It is linked to a vision of what America will and will not become in the coming years and decades. It is a moral consideration. It's about destiny. It is a matter of stewardship.
Will America continue to be the "rising sun" Ben Franklin spoke of in the Constitutional Convention of 1787?
Will we continue to be that "City On a Hill" that Pastor William Bradford first spoke of as he set foot on the New World and President Ronald Reagan popularized as he restored "Morning in America?"
From time to time America has been deeply divided, perhaps now, more than at any time since the Civil War.
We know the moral issues: Abortion, Defense of Natural Marriage, and Fiscal Responsibility.
The debt ceiling debate is a moral one. While it is about numbers and paychecks and payments, it is about much more than that. It is about defining the destiny of this great country.
Will we continue to be the "City on a Hill"? Will the sun continue to rise on America? Or will we become a second rate European style socialist state?
Lincoln understood the deep division of his time and the eternal principles that always form the path to blessing and freedom and prosperity. And human dignity.
He understood that a nation, a city or a household cannot continue permanently divided. He also understood that as Jesus taught the "House Divided" principle, He also taught that standing for Truth often divides.
It was Jesus Himself who said, "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division." (Luke 12: 51)
In this there is a profound and necessary truth.
Scripture clearly shows how Jesus divides by confronting with Truth while requiring a decision. The way we respond often divides us. And if we ignore it, that in itself is a form of rejecting it.
There are those in America who feel that to continue on our present financial course is both immoral and fatal. And some of them were elected last November. They have put their country above their own career.
Rep. Tom Reed, a freshman Republican from upstate New York says, "Like many of my colleagues in the freshman class, I came down here to get our fiscal house in order and to take care of the threat to national security that we see in the federal debt. We came here not to have long careers. We came here to do something. We don't care about re-election."
Other freshman lawmakers echo Reed's sentiments---Rep. Jeff Landry, Louisiana, Senator Mike Lee, Utah, Rep. Todd Rokita, Indiana, to name a few.
In 2004, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, D- Maryland, the number 2 Democrat in the House, referred to continuing to raise the country's debt limit as "immoral and intellectually bankrupt." He was right then and would be right now, except he, as President Obama who as a senator called the need to raise the debt limit a result of "a sign of leadership failure" apparently are concerned about a long career. And have found another truth.
America must get its financial house in order.
Lincoln said, "Our cause, then, must be intrusted to, and conducted by, its own undoubted friends--those whose hands are free, whose hearts are in the work--who do care for the result."
May God bless, strengthen and guide those freshman (and others) whose hands are free, whose hearts are in the work. Those who really do care for the result. Whose dissent is virtuous.
Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed. Be Active.
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