Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It isn't harmless

This is a struggle we don't face much as warm, comfortable, American Christians. It's more than a struggle; it's a fight. So I don't know if anyone will relate to it or not, but I feel led to share. I am feeling strongly in my spirit that God is bringing the fight to my door.

What I mean is evil. Sin. I've been a Christian my whole life, and so when I hear "sin," I typically think of gossip, laziness, losing my temper with a family member. Sins that yes, are harmful, but aren't the kind of thing that keep you awake at night or burden your soul. When I think of evil this way, as little mess-ups that make my life less than what it could be, it's dangerous. Because evil doesn't seem so bad, so much of a real threat.

In our culture especially, we're trained to rationalize and minimize evil. If someone asked you if murder was wrong, you would say yes, without a doubt. But when we want to entertain ourselves, we watch TV shows and movies about cruel, brutal, bloody murders. Adultery is wrong -- we wouldn't cheat on our own spouses -- but we entertain ourselves with stories about men and women who have sex on the first date, who sleep with multiple people without the blink of an eye, who start and stop their marriages based on whatever they feel.

We say homosexuality is a sin, but we laugh at jokes about it and normalize it by watching gay and lesbian couples in almost every TV show and movie. Because it's harmless, right?

It isn't harmless.

God says in Isaiah 5:20:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

It's easy to be entertained by evil when we feel like it's at a safe distance from our own lives. But not all Christians have the luxury of ignoring the spiritual wars that are taking place around us.

So why am I writing about this? Because Satan is fighting for someone I love, and I finally have woken up enough to see this as the spiritual battle that it is. When evil is destroying someone I love, it is not my job to embrace evil so that I don't offend the person. Even if every other person around me wants to call evil good and good evil, my first love is Christ. And if I love Christ, I can't love evil. If I truly love someone, how can I let evil take hold of them and do nothing?

My purpose in this world is not to treat sin as a joke. God did not put me here to tolerate sin and befriend evil. That is not what it means to love.

So, this is a lonely place. Josh and I are going to truly love by loving people and standing up against sin, and that might mean that people don't like us and don't want us around. We might lose a few relationships. The thought of this feels like a huge weight sitting on my spirit. I don't want to lose anyone I love. I don't want to be persecuted. But I can't persecute my Lord by holding hands with evil.

Today I found a Psalm that comforts and strengthens me. I can fight this fight.

Don’t worry about the wicked
or envy those who do wrong.
For like grass, they soon fade away.
Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

Be still in the presence of the Lord,
and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes.

Stop being angry!
Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed,
but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.

Psalm 37:1-9, NLT

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