I have to admit that I am not an avid reader of the local, state or national news. I get caught up every couple of weeks when I eat breakfast with my close friend who reads daily every newspaper before going to work. As I sit there listening to what is happening with our government and the decisions that are being made, I get very angry with what is happening until the effect wears off and am good until the next time we meet for breakfast.
You see, I am like most citizens of the U.S.A who sit around and blame others for the problems of our society. Admitting our contribution to a conflict is a difficult task in today’s society. We love to blame others for the dysfunction of our society. It’s the government’s fault. It’s the democrats fault. It’s the republican’s fault. It’s those liberals. It’s those conservatives. It’s President Obama. We want to blame others and there is an element of truth in all that is said. None of us are perfect and so we all have contributed to the problems of our society. I don’t want to get into a political debate here because I realize that I haven’t done everything that I could have to help fix the problems of our society. O yes, I do vote every-time that the voting booth is open, but I could have done more. It is so easy to point the finger because of all the problems that are occurring in our great country, but I saw a different response by someone I greatly respect to his situation where his country had been dismantled and he had been taken as a slave to another country.
He had to live as an alien away from where he was born and had grown up. He was taken from his parents and had to serve a foreign dictator. What I see in his perspective is one that I would love to adopt in my personal life with those I come in contact with, as well as when I look at all the problems of our great nation. I don’t see him blaming anybody but himself. The following prayer of Daniel illustrates the kind of action I would like to take when I hear about the problems of our nation. I know it is long but if you have a mind to read it, it can change your response to dysfunction as it has mine.
“I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets. . . you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. . . .We have sinned against you. . . .we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. . . .The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. . . . “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. . . .We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”Daniel 9:4-19 NIV
Daniel throughout the prayer takes responsibility for the wrongs, sins, disobedience, wickedness, rebellion, lack of listening, and unfaithfulness of himself and his nation. He doesn’t blame others only, but puts blame on himself. True confession begins when we look at our sins and wrongs we have done, not finger-pointing at others. It begins with my sins.
Daniel then asks for mercy, God’s mercy. “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.” We have no right to ask God for anything due to our nature and our lack of following after the Lord. It is only his mercy that we are able to ask God to intervene in our affairs and those of our nation.
On this journey it is so tempting when problems come our way to point the finger at others and blame the dysfunction of our society on the other guy. It might be helpful to take some time to look at what we bring to the table and move to confession as Daniel did.