Today, May 3, 2012, is “The National Day of Prayer.” Many churches and other Christian organizations as well as individuals will be taking time to pray for this nation which is in desperate need of God’s help. I ran across this particular devotion this morning titled, “Calling Sin, Sin” by Dr. Charles Swindoll in his devotional book, “Day by Day,” and couldn’t believe the timeliness of it. There is even a mention of “The National Day of Prayer” in it. As you read it, I think you will agree:
“A bomb exploded in our nation some years ago. In mid-America, of all places. The fuse was lit first in the mind of Karl Menninger, but its effect was not felt until his pen detonated the blasting cap. Suddenly—without prior warning—BOOM! His book ‘Whatever Became of Sin’ stunned and shocked his colleagues.
“Most of Menninger’s peers had put the hated word to bed decades ago. But now, the Karl Menninger, M.D., the Freud of America, whose book ‘The Human Mind’ had introduced psychiatry to the American public back in 1930, that respected, competent, pioneer of the profession, actually had the gall to reintroduce SIN to the vocabulary!
“All had been relatively quiet on the Western front. America was still licking its wounds from the riots, campus rebellions, and political assassinations of the sixties. We were biting the bullet of a prolonged war in Southeast Asia. We were hearing rumblings with strange names back then, ecological concerns, energy crises, and ‘do your own thing.’ Most of us sensed trouble was brewing . . . something was wrong. But none dared all it SIN.
“Maybe our president would admit it. Lincoln did, way back in 1983. Eisenhower did, borrowing his words from Lincoln, when the Day of Prayer rolled around exactly ninety years later: ‘It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon.’
“But Eisenhower’s subsequent calls to prayer never mentioned that explosive term again. In fact, in 1972, Frederick Fox of Princeton University stated in a compelling article entitled ‘The National Day of Prayer’ : ‘Since 1953, no President has mentioned sin as a national failing. Neither Kennedy, Johnson, nor Nixon. To be sure, they have skirted the word . . . . I cannot imagine a modern President beating his breast on behalf of the Nation and praying, ‘God be merciful to us sinners.’
“‘As a nation, admitted one wag at the time, ‘we officially ceased ‘sinning’ some twenty years ago.’
‘Then came Menninger, who was gutsy enough to declare the truth. Was what he said new? No, not new. It had been there all the time. It just needed to be declared.
“May we all have the courage to say that—to call sin, SIN.”
Correlating reading for the devotion: Proverbs 14
Some words need to be deleted from our vocabulary;
others need to be reinstated.
In a previous post, “Come Let Us Reason Together,” I brought up the topic of “sin” since the word has lost favor in our current society (not that sin has disappeared–no, indeed, it is as prevalent as it has ever been). What started as a “mass exodus” regarding the distasteful use of the term “sin” with the Baby Boomer generation has now entered its third generation with their grandchildren. “Sin? You’ve got to be kidding me!” they say.
And we wonder why our nation is in such a mess . . . .
Personal repentance is the first requirement on this National Day of Prayer. How can we expect God to help us turn this nation around when we scoff at His moral absolutes for our own personal lives? Sin didn’t “disappear” just because people found the word distasteful or obsolete. Indeed, we need to heed the words of Abraham Lincoln that were repeated by Eisenhower mentioned in the devotion posted above:
“It is the duty of nations as well as of men
to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God,
to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow,
yet with assured hope that genuine repentance
will lead to mercy and pardon.”
And that is where we need to begin on this National Day of Prayer.
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