Nehemiah 11-13; Psalm 126
Nehemiah was not a political person. He confronted sin in sometimes ostentatious ways:
23 About the same time I realized that some of the men of Judah had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24Furthermore, half their children spoke the language of Ashdod or of some other people and could not speak the language of Judah at all. 25 So I confronted them and called down curses on them. I beat some of them and pulled out their hair. I made them swear in the name of God that they would not let their children intermarry with the pagan people of the land.
26 “Wasn’t this exactly what led King Solomon of Israel into sin?” I demanded. “There was no king from any nation who could compare to him, and God loved him and made him king over all Israel. But even he was led into sin by his foreign wives. 27 How could you even think of committing this sinful deed and acting unfaithfully toward God by marrying foreign women?”
Can you imagine the headlines if Governor Perry beat and pulled the hair out of a man under his authority who married an illegal immigrant? Yet that is just what Nehemiah did!
I am not by any means advocating beating and hair pulling. Those were different days when rulers had absolute authority. But there is a lack of transparency and accountability in our society today that is so troubling. We Americans tend to take care of problems in the shadows. We sweep troubles under the rug or throw money at them in hopes that they will disappear.
I witnessed this kind of mind set today when some children in our homeschooling group accidentally damaged a piece of furniture but then ran away and told no one about it. This was a common childish reaction to making a mistake…but all too often adults do the same thing. We have an entire legislature filled with people who need to make tough financial decisions but instead run away from them or point accusing fingers at each rather than working together to find real solutions.
Perhaps we need to take a page from Nehemiah. Call a spade a spade. Do some virtual hair-pulling. Stop allowing sin to masquerade as a shade of gray. Hold each other accountable. If we are able to speak the truth into situations around us, we will allow the Light to shine through us, attracting unbelievers like moths to a flame. Otherwise we are hypocritical souls who are worse off than those who aren’t believers…the Holy Spirit instructs us in righteousness, and we stand and do nothing? We tolerate and excuse away sin in ourselves and in our children one day and preach righteousness the next?
Lord, help us to be more like Nehemiah. Help me to stand in the mirror and pull some virtual hair out of my head. Help me get rid of the sin that entangles.
We American Christians are not as comfortable confronting sin.