Practical Application of the Word of God
As I skimmed social media sites late last night after the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, I was dismayed, as usual, at the preponderance of hate, blame, and ignorance among a lot of us who claim to follow God and Jesus Christ and to be hearers and doers of His word in its entirety.
Much of my dismay comes from the evidence that many of us who say we’re Christians don’t exhibit conduct that is worthy of the gospel of Christ, don’t have conduct that is holy, and don’t have honorable conduct among unbelievers.
Our conduct starts on the inside – what we think and believe deep in our hearts – and is manifested through our words and actions. Whether we are becoming like Christ or remain and/or fall into Satan’s devices, then, is evident in what we say or write and do.
Two of Satan’s go-to devices are inciting humanity against itself and ignorance. As Christians, we’re as susceptible to these as those who are not Christians, but when we remain in or fall back into Satan’s traps, we dishonor our Father in Heaven, deny our Lord and Savior and we profane their Names.
It seems that our ignorance of the big picture spiritually and in human history is the device that Satan uses first to trap us in his second device of inciting humans against humans.
Paul says in Ephesians 6 that we wrestle not against flesh and blood (although Satan uses unwitting – although we as Christians should not be – humans to achieve his ends), but that our true enemy is Satan and the demonic world that are the rulers of this age.
And, yet, when we as Christians spew out hate and blame on other humans for the sins that Satan is the instigator of and perpetuates on the landscape of the earth (and we should never forget that none of us are exempt from sin: we are sinners too and there are no degrees of sin in God’s eyes, only the guilt of disobeying Him and our constant need for repentance and atonement through the blood of Jesus Christ), we fall right into Satan’s hands.
Satan’s goal from day one of human existence has been to thwart the plan of God at every turn.
Part of that plan was our creation for the eventual purpose of every human who has, does, and will ever live, each in his or her time within God’s plan and will, to become a part of God’s eternal family.
These humans include those who carried out the American terrorist attacks of 9/11/01 and the Paris terrorist attacks of 11/13/15, as well as every other human who has committed violence against another human being (that includes you and me, at times in our lives, because when we hate, we are guilty of murder).
In other words, God’s plan and will is that each of these people, who are our physical brothers (we all came from Adam and Eve, which makes us all family) and neighbors now, will be our spiritual brothers and sisters in the family of God. Have we forgotten that? Or did we never believe it in the first place?
We are told that God so loved the world (that’s every human being in the whole history of the world) that He gave His Son to make atonement for each and all of the human race that has, that does, and will ever exist when God opens their eyes to His truth.
Ironically, we as Christians talk a lot about love, but it’s clear that we are sometimes just talking about something we don’t understand and don’t have, because the kind of love described in John 3:16 seems to be largely absent from our conduct as Christians.
Each time Satan is able to incite humans against humans through hate and blame, his purpose – which is to destroy the human race so that God’s plan cannot be fulfilled (we know that won’t happen, but not because of us, but because of Jesus Christ) – is accomplished in the short term because we resort to destroying each other.
And when we blame and hate a person or a group of people, not only do we fulfill the purpose of Satan to deflect the responsibility from himself, but we show in our prejudices and biases the carnality of our own human hearts, and we do not walk in the light of God, of whom we’re told there is no partiality, and we are guilty of the hypocrisy that James talks about in blessing God on the one hand and, on the other, cursing people, who, like us, are all made in the image of God, for the same purpose and the same plan that He made before the foundation of the world.
In addition to the spiritual ignorance that our hate and blame of a person or people demonstrates, we also are largely ignorant of human history.
Because we let our ideas and opinions be shaped by sound bites from the ignorance around us (media which is skewed, angled, twisted, spun, and dishonest to project a fundamentally myopic and dishonest certain point of view and technology which is a teeming repository of craziness and untruth, if we’re so inclined in that direction) instead of learning history by reading widely and educating ourselves (forget what you memorized in school, because most of that are lies too) to understand the big picture, we paint people and groups of people in broad strokes of erroneous generalities and neglect our own roles, from a national perspective (European and American), in how the world got to where it is today from a historical standpoint.
Shame on us. We have no one but ourselves to blame for this ignorance, which is willful.
It’s so much easier to hate and to blame than it is to educate ourselves and understand the big picture of the sins we’ve all committed individually, nationally, and globally that makes each of us as humans complicit in the current state of human history.
The history of hostility between the western world and the Middle East goes all the way back to Abraham and Sarah.
When, in a moment of leaning to their own understanding, Abraham and Sarah decided that God intended to give them a son by Hagar, the roots of this conflict were planted. How often do we remember that?
The antagonism has only increased since then. Yet the western world has had just as much of a hand in that through the Crusades, through self-seeking policies, colonization, politics, and wars and their treaties since that fateful decision that Sarah and Abraham made.
If we were not ignorant of human history, we would see that the same issues on both sides of this current war are not new, but the same as they have always been, and both sides – that includes the U.S. and Europe – are equally guilty in perpetuating and worsening those issues.
When we whitewash America’s and Europe’s historical wrongs against the Arab world (by choosing to remain ignorant of them or lying against the truth to make us look like the good guys and make them look like the bad guys, when, in fact, we’re all the bad guys) and portray ourselves as innocent victims, then we lie against the truth.
As Christians, we cannot afford to fall into these devices that Satan uses. We are called to be different from the world and to be like God and Jesus Christ.
What does our conduct say about which path we are choosing? I urge each of us to think deeply and prayerfully about whether we are walking worthy or we are walking in darkness, because each step in either direction matters greatly.