December 27, 2015

America’s most urgent need as the New Year begins is national repentance.

“I am struck by the high level of anxiety and worry on all fronts,” said Robert Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, as PRRI released its American Values Survey November 17.

There are many obvious causes of national nervousness: terrorism, crime and domestic unrest, political weakness and uncertainty, economic woes, and moral collapse, to name a few.

Yet there is unidentifiable angst in the national soul. In our travels and interactions with people across the United States, we conclude this hidden distress is spiritual.

America needs revival, but first there must be national repentance.

Ancient Israel shows how it’s possible for a whole nation to repent. There are powerful examples showing how repentance brought return to God, and restoration of the nation to its values and the best of its history, as well as security and general well-being.

America itself has had serious moments of repentance.

The new nation was much in need of revival and repentance just after the American Revolution. Alcoholism, immorality, crime, church decline all were rampant. Tom Paine thought “Christianity will be forgotten in thirty years.”

Insightful leaders recognized the need for change and repentance.

In 1781, Thomas Jefferson, in his Notes on the State of Virginia, seeing the evil of slavery, asked: “can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction that (human) liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?”

Then Jefferson laid bare his own soul. “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

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