The world cannot understand Americans. Considering all of our society, Americans have the greatest prosperity and highest standard of living known in any sizable society on earth. History has never known a sizable nation that had our standard of living.

Yet, depression is common in America. Among the young and the old, suicide is significant. Alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography, sexually transmitted disease, promiscuity, dysfunctional families, one parent families, rejection of commitment, dishonesty, and a lack of integrity and character are sources of major social problems.

How can a society with so much, experience so many serious problems? Many of the world's societies cannot understand. In their societies, the majority live in poverty with minimal human rights. To them, the combination of prosperity and human rights produce a wonderful society. America has that combination. Why do we not enjoy our wonderful existence?

Prosperity and human rights do not eliminate stress. Alcoholism, drug addiction, and sexually indulgent behavior are popular attempts to escape stress. Family relationships fail to nurture and sustain healthy love and acceptance. That failure creates the stresses of loneliness, rejection, and despair. Americans mistakenly believe honesty, commitment, integrity, and character are the roots of distress. We incorrectly believe the emotional antidote for stress is irresponsible, selfish, pleasure-centered existence.

Jesus once invited the burdened of Jewish society to come to him (Matthew 11:28-30). His guidance would unburden their lives. He was gentle and humble. Through him they would find rest.

Rest! What a wonderful word! What a beautiful concept! Rest is the opposite of stress. Stress is the enemy of rest. Jesus produces rest in a burdened life by taking the burdens. It is easier to serve Jesus than it is to be enslaved to burdens.

If we Christians wish to validate the gospel and capture the attention of the masses, all we need do is to allow Jesus to give us rest. Stressed out Christians cannot communicate the peace and healing of the gospel.

Suggestions: (1) Let your life demonstrate that Christ destroys stress. (2) Never distress each other. (2) Do not promote or endorse ungodliness because evil creates stress. (4) Commit to honesty, integrity, and character. (5) Learn how to help each other with life's burdens.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 17 September 2000

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