The Greatest Commandment of America

Author: Mike Sonneveldt

It's done. It's over.

You can take a deep breath, and now you can relax. Or, if weeping and gnashing your teeth is more your thing, then go for it. But, for the next year and a half or so, you can rest and keep your mind on other things than a mid-term election.

I'm glad it's over. I've been waiting for this moment. I understand the importance of an election, and the absolute necessity of getting involved in the whole process, but it brings out the worst in all of us.

The power and influence that flows underneath elections represents a rather wicked sense of control over other people's lives. It entices and draws the worst of our populace into the limelight. The slick smiles (and slicked back hair), the promises to people's most base desires, and the arrogance all culminates on stages, screens and newspapers all over the nation.

These positions are supposed to be held by servants. A man of unique nature is the ultimate statesman. A man who is humble, wise in decision making, who hates ill-gotten gain, who defends against tyranny, limits himself, and defends the defenseless against the powers of corruption. This man brings to the position of representative the necessary qualities. How many people can we honestly say represent such qualities?

Unfortunately, we as humans buy into the King Saul dilemma. Saul was the tallest man, good-looking, and charismatic. But he lacked character. People looked at the physical representation, and wanted a ruler who would look the part, and despite God's warnings that he would become an uncontrolled tyrant and coward, they wanted to go forward.

In America, these positions of “power” are in-fact managerial positions. Each “seat” is one that is there merely to ensure the government runs the way it is supposed to. The tech manual, the rule-book, or the procedure lay-out of the government is written down in the constitutions of our states and nation. Just as the first five books of the Bible lay out the law and how the people should be governed, our constitutions and law structure are there to determine the responsibility of our governments. 

If our elected representatives do not manage our governmental affairs in line with the constitution, they need to be removed. This means we have to actually understand the spirit of our constitution.

Just as the Jewish people got themselves into trouble, we are doing the same thing. They stuck their noses so deep into the law, that they missed the forest for the trees. Christ came and told them repeatedly that they were missing the bigger picture. His sermon on the mount amounted to, “You think you're following the law, but you're missing the more important piece: the spirit of it!” When we say, “I didn't murder someone today!” we think we're being lawful citizens. But our heart murders constantly with hatred.

It's the same way today with our government structure. We say, “We stopped the deficit from rising even more!” When the spirit of the constitution was, “Government should balance costs at all times, because people should only pay taxes for the government to keep the lights on.” We look at our representatives, and we want them to tell us what they can do for us, and how they're going to solve a problem.

In all actuality, their job is to tell us, “I can't do that. That's not how government works.”

Government is a tool. It manages the fabric of society, and that's why it's such a contentious issue. We all view society and how it should run in varying ways. But our laws and constitutions determine how we all interact in our society, and what the society will tolerate, how it functions, and what will not be tolerated.

Our officials unfortunately must be otherwordly men. They must recognize the power that is available in such a position, shirk that power, and yet uphold justice and the laws in order to keep society functioning. 

This is a pipe dream. A true utopia (which means in the Greek, “No place.”)

But, a standard remains vital. Having a perfect standard helps us aim our sights on something, and gives us feedback on where we need to correct. When we hold that standard, such as the concept of liberty in America, our decisions become easier.

A similar idea is found in the mission statement of a business. A great mission statement becomes easily accessible at all times to all employees. A great mission statement gives the employee a clear answer in the times of a difficult decision. 

For instance: Let's say our mission statement is, “Customer experience, at all costs.” A customer comes in, and they truly need something, but it's going to cost the company to the point of a loss on the sale or service. Immediately, your employee knows the answer, “If a customer's experience conflicts with costs, and I have to choose to prioritize one or the other, I'll always prioritize the customer's experience.”

It's the same with the standard of liberty. If the question becomes, “Does this improve safety at the risk of liberty?” Then it's much easier to say, “I must defer to liberty.”

Today, we chafe at believing such a difficult conflict of convictions could show up in our lives. These dangerous conflicts show up because deep down we believe we can have it all. We tell ourselves we can enjoy freedom and liberty, WHILE being safe and protected. Rarely do we truly give ourselves an accurate accounting, and determine how much liberty and freedom that safety will really cost. If America were to truly believe in liberty (at all costs?), probably 75% of the laws, ordinances and regulations would be toast in a matter of hours.

This is why, when Christ is asked what the greatest commandment is in the law, He responds, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Why are those the greatest? Why do the law and the prophets hang on those two? Because they answer all of the conflicts that could arise from the law. Whenever a conflict happens, we look to love. Love of God first, and then love for our neighbor. And guess what, our neighbor includes our enemy, considering we're called to love our enemies.

The mission statement of Judaism and Christianity is such, “Love God with everything you are, and love your neighbor as yourself.” And you want to know how to love God with everything you are? Accept Christ. (There, now no one can say I'm not putting the gospel as vital.)

The mission statement of America is liberty. And while it's never upheld the ideal, we must present to ourselves the measurement stick in each and every scenario. Does this improve or hinder liberty? Will allowing this infringe on another's rights, therefore infringing on their liberty?

If America can use this scale in our voting, our legislation, our ethics and our social interactions, we will instantly create a more cohesive society. Our valuing of liberty creates more love for our neighbor, not less.

As I stood in the line waiting to vote, I played a game of wondering how people were going to vote. I recognized a couple of women who seemed to be a lesbian couple, and of course the assumption was that they would vote straight democrat. Intriguingly, I was not offended by the thought of their vote. I honored their difference in point of view, and celebrated that they were acting out the responsibility of choosing our leaders.

I vehemently disagree with the democrat position to infringe on liberties, and disagree with the democrat view of the role of government, but I never wish to restrict the participation of those who vote differently from me.

Sadly, I hold the hardest position to hold. I honor the right of others to hold views that would oppress and crush my own. I play by my rules that hold me to a high standard, while others won't agree to those rules, and therefore could crush me.

At the end of the day, however, my conscience is clean. I have faith in the Lord, in the truth, and the final truth that all of this will end someday anyways. So my participation is my stewardship and my responsibility, but the outcome is not my responsibility. I steward what I'm given, and will fight back those who infringe on my rights and liberties, but I will do it with a clean conscience and conviction.

I refuse to break the greater law, my morals and my convictions, in order to uphold such things that I hold dear. For if I attempt such a feat, I have defeated them myself. I have laid waste to their validity in my desperate act of protecting them. I've proven they hold no value while professing their immense values at all costs. The man who has no morals and convictions, holds his power and tyranny as the ultimate reward. He will crush all who stand in his path and will decimate the entire world to achieve his desire. What that man doesn't realize is he will ultimately destroy that which he prizes. When he finally achieves ultimate control, he will find his hands are full of ashes, as he cannot but burn it all in order to win it.

The desire of the tyrant is power. He can achieve it, but the more he achieves, the more ultimate control eludes him. In essence, he is cutting the branch that he sits on. As the nation he rules over compresses under the weight of his tyranny, the people lose spirit, and some revolt. He must then press harder with his thumb, attempting to stamp out the reaction to his tyranny. At some moment, his strength, resolve and abilities will waver against the onslaught of attack from the opposing reaction. Remember, every action has an opposing reaction.

Eventually, the tyrant can't help but crumble (or straight up die). His life is fleeting, and even if he reaches old age, he will clutch the sheets of his deathbed, and raise a fist at the sky, cursing God. The tyrant can never conquer God, and can never conquer himself. The destruction of truth within him leaves him decimated, and there is no peace to be had. Untold amounts of pleasure can be consumed, but never true peace.

And that is why the nun can sit in the gulag with utter peace and contentment on her face as she starves to death, while Stalin shakes his fist at the sky as he dies and curses God. The nun held her conviction to the death, and her conscience remained fast in God. She wasn't running from God, she was embracing Him.

The tyrant runs from God, and never escapes. Truth compounds within his breast, until he bursts...whether in this world or the next.


The point of it all? Your convictions are tantamount, and reject any man who will compromise his convictions for the sake of a temporal win. The men of highest conviction cannot be bought, and when liberty is their conviction, they will never attempt to buy your conviction from you.

Uphold the mission statement, and never compromise.

Self-Evident Ministries