Recently we had a friend over who was discussing the holocaust. She said there were three groups of people during that horrific time. Those who perpetrated the crimes against the Jews, those who did all they could to oppose the evil men, and those who did nothing. Her questions haunted me. Which group am I in with the evil that is taking place today?
During the craziness of 2020, I’ve written blog and Facebook posts aimed to call people to prayer, bible memorization and meditation, and a deeper walk with God. I have also urged caution about embracing conspiracy theories and being careful about what we believe.
Almost every time I have posted, I get responses interpreting my advice as “not standing up for truth” or failing to be the watchman. That I’m somehow urging people to bury their heads in the sands of personal piety, and ignore the pleas of the oppressed.
I always cringe when I get one of these responses because that is not at all what I intend to communicate.
I believe there is a real spiritual and cultural battle raging right now. I believe God calls His Church to be soldiers in this battle. My concern is that we as soldiers of the King be prepared for battle.
As we have seen throughout history, sending soldiers into battle who are not equipped for the fight has been catastrophic both for the soldiers and the country they are defending.
We sure seem to be in the thick of spiritual battle right now. When in the heat of a war zone, armor suddenly becomes a lot more precious! We desperately need our spiritual armor.
The first piece of armor that Paul mentions in Ephesians is the Belt of Truth. The belt in his day provided a place to tuck the long tunic so you didn’t trip and fall on your own clothing. Truth is one of our most critical protections.
But what is truth?
Today with the vast amounts of data, memes, talking clips, and rumors, information and disinformation, truth about what is going on is harder to discern than ever.
With trust in mainstream media evaporating, people are turning to social media for their news and information. It seems more free and less subject to government censorship, as anyone can share their perspective.
The problem is that social media outlets like Facebook, don’t care about informing you as much as they care about winning your attention.
After a painful struggle with bulimia and pornography, my wife’s sister, Katrina, decided that the battle was too exhausting. Rather than continue giving into temptation, she would end the struggle for good. She took her own life in 2001, shattering the lives of those who knew her.
When I hear about her struggles, or read her journal from those dark days, there are so many things I wish I could have told her, verses I could have pointed her to, truths I wish she had known. But then I keep reading her thoughts, or notes she wrote other people, and I am reminded that she DID know the very things I wish I could have told her.
All the factors that led Katrina to end her life will remain mysterious; she clearly was not fully rational at the time. But this much is clear: Her problem wasn’t that she didn’t know truths that could have set her free. The problem seems to be that these truths were forgotten and pushed from her focus by the lies and desires that enslaved her attention.
Her attention was filled with despair over her failures, and belief that her life would always remain an exhausting struggle. There was no room in her mind for hope in the Holy Spirit’s power to transform, or the power of confession and accountability, or the love and mercy of God. It wasn’t that she didn’t know about these truths; they just didn’t shape her attitudes and behaviours any more, because her mind was captivated by other tormenting ideas.