Although God wants more than a relationship of mere acknowledgement, it is that bare minimum God-consciousness that serves as a life-line for any relationship at all.
Romans 1:28 And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong.
In a 1990 movie, The Ghost, Patrick Swayze played a character that dies and then desperately tries to reconnect with the still living love of his life. If I remember this decades old movie correctly, he eventually breaks through and she becomes aware of his presence. For a moment imagine you’re there on the other side hoping for acknowledgement from the living. But in this new version, you never make contact. No matter how many clues you plant or messages you send, there’s never an acknowledgment. What would you do? You’d probably move on. It might be difficult to consider that God moves on when we don’t acknowledge Him, but read Romans 1:28.
I’ve written before that the foundation of relationship is need, but the first, primary action from that foundation is acknowledgement. Consider the child who needs his or her parent. When the parent walks in the room, is there not mutual acknowledgement? The roots of the word translate literally “to admit recognition.” What if the child never acknowledges the parent? What if the parent never acknowledges the child? Relationship without basic mutual acknowledgement is short-lived and although God wants more than a relationship of mere acknowledgement, it is that bare minimum God-consciousness that serves as a life-line for any relationship at all. What happens if we quit acknowledging God? He hands us over. To what?
Romans 1 spells out the disaster:
unrighteousness, evil, greed, wickedness, envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, malice, gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful.
Regularly, there’s a news piece revealing some corrupt use of power, a crime of sexual abuse, another immoral scandal. It seems these dark outcomes listed in Romans 1 are very present day. Could it be that as our modern society advances, we’re drifting away from the mere acknowledgement of God.
Is there any excuse?
Romans 1:20 For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.
My wife and I met a nice elderly lady at a restaurant in SW Florida not long ago. She had ordered a bloody Mary and was trying to figure something out on her smart phone. She asked me for help. Within a couple of minutes, God came up in our conversation. She said she was catholic but not practicing. I could see she felt a bit convicted about it. There were two things I took away from our 5 minute conversation. She was kind and she at least acknowledged God. Is she born again and heaven bound? We didn’t talk that long. I do know this. She was civil, and it’s civility we are losing in American culture today.
Tocqueville argued that free and civil societies depend on morality and morality on religion. Consider his words from Democracy in America:
“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
Let’s be glad for every church on every corner, every cross we see, every statue of a saint that still stands, every placard of the ten commandments, every “In God We Trust” printed on our currency. It all says, “God, we acknowledge You.”
In the absence of this mere God-consciousness, depravity reigns. But with it, at least, civility is retained.