It is getting harder to cope with the insults to our Lord from the unhinged Left. Militant atheism is confronting Christianity at every opportunity, often with such hatred, contempt and viciousness, that it’s a hate crime.
Online news forums teem with caldrons of deep-seated hatred of God, Jesus and His Church through the attacks made by paid forum trolls of the organized Left. They blaspheme, mock and ridicule Jesus and His followers at every turn, like attack dogs nipping at the heels of their masters, just for the satisfaction of drawing blood.
Political organizations target Christians in their businesses, homes and workplaces in an effort to resist the apparent swing to the political Right made when America elected Donald Trump as the 45th President last year. Evangelical Christians made the difference in the election, and now the Left fear a halt to their evil agendas and rollbacks to the gains made during the Obama years. The level of attacks from the Left towards mostly Conservative Christian America has risen and is intensifying.
America is fast approaching a crossroads, and some fear a hot civil war is brewing. We hear of “wars and rumors of wars.” Antifa ominously announces their revolution begins November 4th. The armies of Lucifer are in a determined fury, because Satan knows he has but a little time left. He thinks he can defeat the Church and lord over God’s creation.
And if political issues are not enough, many of us have cherished friends or family members who are following evil at this present time. Many delight in doing wrong, blindly following after Satan and his lies; many actively pursue and laud perversions of all kinds! Our loved ones seem to be hell-bound wearing rocket shoes, literally throwing away an eternity of happiness with both hands, but for their evil, foolish pride! We anguish over their eternal fate, if they persist in not repenting of their sins and making Jesus their Lord and Savior.
Thankfully, we Christians already know how it all ends.
The Book of Revelation shows us that evil does not triumph over Good, and God’s Will will be brought to bear upon all those who follow evil, culminating in the Great Tribulation.
But how can we best cope during this time, until all these things come to pass?
We must love sinners and hate sin. How is it possible to do this when we are sinners, too? Although saved, we do have feelings and are sometimes motivated to lash out and push back in ways that do not represent Jesus very well.
Perhaps this is a good analogy: consider The Lost like a “problem child.” Since I am not a parent, I believe those who tell me about how difficult it is to love their “problem child” — the endless sleepless nights filled with worry, the parent-teacher conferences, the counseling sessions, and the embarrassment of interrupted work to deal with the fallout from their child’s aberrant behavior. It is painful and exhausting; and at times, many parents simply want to wash their hands and walk away, leaving their problem child to his/her fate. Yet love calls them back again and again for the sake of the child and motivates the parents to never give up or let go. They hold on to the hope that someday their child will get right.
As God’s representatives on Earth, we must hold onto the hope that as long as we persevere, many “problem children” will come to the saving knowledge of our Savior Jesus.
God The Church ◌ < < < The Lost
In the above diagram, the Church (representing God on Earth) exists between God and The Lost. Now imagine The Lost as a grinding stone trying to grind down and wear out the saints.
In the Parable of the Foolish Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), we are exhorted to keep our oil lamps full and lit. It is difficult to keep our lamps filled under persecution. The Lost view The Church through hate-filled souls and eyes. They are doing all they can to grind down and remove The Church from the earth so they can prove their superiority and stick a finger in God’s eye. They don’t see how their hateful behavior serves Satan. In the world of The Lost, hate becomes a virtue directed at, and vented on the Lord’s saints.
A recent example of this was that of a homosexual coffee shop owner in Seattle, who publicly vented his anger at Christians who were seated at a table in his establishment. Because the Christians had been handing out Pro-Life leaflets on the street earlier, this man became enraged; and in a profane, expletive-filled rant, threw them out. Filled with misplaced self-righteousness, he claimed his act was virtuous. As they departed, one Christian woman said to him, “We will pray for you.”
As God is a loving and patient God towards all, we are moved to act as the Holy Spirit moves in our lives. The Holy Spirit is the oil in our lamps that smooths out the grinding and buffers the hatred from The Lost. The more we fill our lamps with oil, the longer we can represent the Lord well, then more lost individuals may be saved and join the Church. This is why we are told to keep our oil lamps full and lit, like the parable, so The Lost can find The Light.
As the oil in our lamps is replenished daily, the more spirit-filled our lives become, and it contributes to how long the birth pangs continue. We are to emulate God’s long-suffering patience towards The Lost, and behave like parents to the problem child. We are to resist Satan and declare The Good News while actively opposing evil. We are to do this with a spirit of loving-kindness and forbearance so that The Lost will be ashamed of their behavior. After all, what is turning the other cheek, but a gesture that wordlessly shows a tormenter that you expect their lack of self-control, and you anticipate their continued fury. In such an exchange, who really is the stronger?
I am not advocating becoming a doormat to those who blaspheme God and cheer the persecution of the Church. What I am advocating is a call to repent of the desire for “payback.” It is not for the Church to avenge. Vengeance is reserved for the Lord (Romans 12:19). There’s plenty of evil to go around without adding to it.
We don’t have to like the hateful behavior directed toward us, but neither should we encourage it. Oftentimes we may even resent it. Yet if we can remember to be like Jesus through it all, we may just help buy enough time for many of The Lost to be saved. After all, we were ALL bought at a very steep price paid for by Jesus. Riding through The Lost’s indignation is our reasonable service. We are to be motivated by love, patience and the hope of the long-suffering. In 1 Corinthians 13, we are told:
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Christians in America have flourished in a wonderful, freedom-loving culture for so long, we are disconnected from the real persecution happening in other places around the world. We take for granted that most of our fellow citizens are Christian, or at least raised Christian, so that the concentrated effort to push us around is a new thing. Our faith has never been under so much confrontation as in recent years. For many American Christians, this low-level persecution is already unbearable and getting worse!
How then are we to behave in the face of such directed evil?
Like the football team who goes into the game already possessing the superior training and skills, we won’t get cocky. We will resist exalting ourselves at the expense of our lesser opponent. We will play a clean, fair game, and not forget our training. We will obey every command of our coach. Putting on the whole armor of God, we will put on a clinic for their education in the spirit of humbleness, and not gloat over every teachable moment. In short: represent well and trust God.
Each of us was called for such a time as this. It is our privilege to be salt and light at this time to those who hate the Lord. To cope with the battle fatigue from the grinding evil, we can encourage ourselves and each other by remembering we are the Church Triumphant! God said He will build His Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it! Jesus is closer today than yesterday, and will be closer tomorrow than today. He will come for His Church when the “full number of the Gentiles comes in” (Romans 11:25).
We are the Church Triumphant! God wins in the end, and we will return with Jesus to help Him rule and reign over all the earth from his capital in Jerusalem!
Organized evildoers delight in doing harm; they live to provoke and torment. We can blunt their attacks with the Love of Jesus and allow the soothing and smoothing oil of the Holy Spirit to keep our spirits high and filled with hope.
Continue to cultivate living a holy life, so that you may help many to be saved. Resist Satan and he will flee. Keep praying. Tell the Truth to The Lost and do so with forbearance and as much loving-kindness as you can cultivate. Stay in the center of God’s love, in the palm of His hand; and stay in His Word daily. Reading the Bible is your daily fuel. Daily prayer supercharges your faith! Use both to replenish your oil lamp to keep it burning brightly. Just because we know how our present situation ends doesn’t mean we spike the football in the face of The Lost. Paul taught the early church to:
“… make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you” (1 Thessalonians 4:11 NASB, emphasis mine).
Remember to cultivate a spirit of winsomeness like Jesus, so that, by resisting evil, we remain upright before the Lord, with full oil lamps and a bright light. The longer we do this, our “problem child” may get right with Our Blessed Hope.
Be encouraged! We are the Church Triumphant!