I am a director of an after-school program in Melvindale and I LOVE working with the students! Every school day I look forward to seeing them, hearing their stories and helping them with homework. But sometimes that joy can be tainted by the school system. The bureaucracy and political correctness can drive me insane more than any middle schooler.
For instance, on Saint Patricks day the kids had to write a report on good ole Patrick. You know the story, Patrick is living in Scotland when he is abducted and taken to Ireland as a slave. He eventually escapes back to home but later goes BACK to Ireland, to the land of his captors, to preach the gospel. Cool story! Well in the version the kids were reading, Patrick goes back to Ireland to teach “good values.” What!?!? Are you kidding me? The whole point of the story is that St. Patrick taught the Druids about Jesus. How can you leave that part out?
As Christians I’m sure we’ve all had those “did I really just hear that?” moments. It might be political correctness in our schools, a new bill passed by congress or an advertisement by a large corporation. One thing is clear, the world we live in is against the values we hold as Christians. We see our society fighting us and we want to fight back!!! But should we?
If you’ve been awake the last three years you’ve probably heard of the Hunger Games series. In this fictional universe, two children from each of the 13 districts are forced by the Capitol to fight to the death each year in a sort of reality show. In one scene Katniss (the main character who has to fight for her life) is told by her mentor to “remember who the real enemy is.” That it’s not the kids she’s fighting, they are being forced to fight just like she is, instead it’s the Capitol: the menace hiding behind the facade of the games.[az_dropcap mode=”dropcap-normal”]“we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against…the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”[/az_dropcap]
Likewise our enemy is not the humans that we see attacking us, but the spiritual forces behind them driving them to sin, just as were once in bondage to sin ourselves. The apostle Paul reminds us in his letter to the Ephesians 6:12 “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against…the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” It’s against sin and demons that we must fight!
However, sometimes we do forget who the real enemy is. We post our views on Facebook and then argue with those who don’t hold our views. We start campaigns against corporations who don’t behave how we like. We rally against those who are trying to take our freedom!
But sometimes I think we’re more concerned that someone is attacking OUR beliefs than God’s standards. What we’re really angry and offended about is the fact that someone would dare to stand against what I KNOW is true! But we don’t see that we’re making it about ourselves because our fight is shrouded in religious piety.
We’ll post an article on Facebook about gay-marriage/immigration/sex-outside-of-marriage/corporate-greed and say something like “Wow, did you see this? Our country is really going down the drain.” We think we’re bringing attention to God’s standards, but much of the time we’re indulging our own pride. We are venting about something that offends us.
Now please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not advocating a compromise of our Christian values. I strongly believe that sin is an act of rebellion against God and that it separates us from him. So we need to acknowledge sin, for how will anyone have faith in Christ if they don’t understand their condemnation apart from him? But I’m calling for an honest examination of our motives and methods in addressing it. For “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against…the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”[az_dropcap mode=”dropcap-normal”]Instead of responding in anger to those who sin apart from Christ, we should be heartbroken. Instead of standing against those who threaten our values, we should seek to bring them into the body of Christ.[/az_dropcap]
Instead of responding in anger to those who sin apart from Christ, we should be heartbroken. Instead of standing against those who threaten our values, we should seek to bring them into the body of Christ. We are called to be a light in this dark world (Ephesians 5:8) exposing the darkness and the evil around us.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:13-20)