CHRISTIAN COMMENT: “When America sneezes…”

“When America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold”. This phrase was coined in 1929 in the aftermath of the Wall Street crash. Of course, back then nobody realised how easily this puppy sneezed, and how often we’d catch a cold!

America has, however, a reputation for quick recovery, so even in the current crisis people prefer to remain optimistic. Still, most agree, it’s a case of one sneeze too many. Not surprisingly, there are calls for this puppy to be brought to heel. 

In canine parlance, ‘heel’ training is useful in that it allows you to grab and hold the attention of a dog, when necessary, without the aid of a leash. The training conditions the dog to want to be by your side even though he is actually free to do his own thing. It’s a discipline that combines freedom with ‘responsible’ behaviour. Dogs don’t know this, but the result is a happy symbiotic relationship. Get the picture?

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To be fair, this is a lesson that not only America, but every human being needs to learn. We don’t need to look far to realise that most problems, whether personal, family or societal, usually stem from the inability (unwillingness?) to act both freely and responsibly for the greater good.

This inability and unwillingness are described in the Bible as a ‘powerlessness’ and ‘disobedience’ that result from sin. The Scriptures teach that all of us are slaves to sin. Under its rule, we end up powerless to escape its clutches. We nurse a secret hostility towards God’s laws, even when we want to obey Him. 

The good news is that through faith in Jesus Christ, anyone can be set free from the rule of sin, anyone can be brought under the rule of God.

This transfer of ‘rule’ is a crucial first step. Only after we are set free from the tyranny of sin, only when we are under the freedom of God’s rule, do we discover the motivation and the power to live life that pleases Him, satisfies us – and enriches others.

Whether individuals or nations, we could all do with such ‘heel’ training. 

By Philip Athyal