There is a fierce battle raging in our country. The events in Charlottesville and the backlash that followed have sprouted bitter fruit from a crippled seed planted long ago. At a quick glance, the conversation is about Confederate statues, racism, and taking sides. Like a schoolyard fight, we line up on one side holding fast to our stereotypes, anger, and hatred for those across from us.
But is that really the issue?
In a moment of clarity, I feel like God spoke to me and said, “This isn’t about Confederate statues.”
Confederate Statues and Taking Sides
God detests racism. It’s not in His character. The story of God from beginning to end is about all men and women, created in His image, redeemed by His grace, and captivated by His love. And the power of God is the only force strong enough to unite every ethnicity and nation under one kingdom.
But we have forgotten. As a country, as a people, we have allowed logic and reason and pride to create a sort of spiritual amnesia. This fog has blanketed the minds and covered the eyes of those within the walls of the church and those outside. As Christians, we pick fights about Confederate statues and argue points of doctrine and theology while keeping our hearts from seeking His kingdom.
In Romans 1, the Apostle Paul writes:
“For although they knew God, they did not honor his as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man.”
Pause from the noise and the pundits long enough to apply these words to your own life.
Yes, you may know God, but are you honoring Him? Are you allowing the foolishness of the world to masquerade as wisdom? Have you traded the glory of our immortal God for images resembling mortal man?
Exposing the Hidden Enemy
The Battle of Iwo Jima was one of the most difficult battles in the history of our military. And it wasn’t because of manpower. It was because the Imperial Japanese Army had built an incredible underground network. They couldn’t be seen behind their fortified, hidden artillery positions. The point is, the unseen enemy is always the most deadly.
There is an active enemy that opposes mankind. This isn’t a metaphorical enemy and it isn’t a cartoonish devil in red spandex. The devil himself is our enemy and wants us to remain in opposition to one another and to God. If that’s illogical or too spooky to consider, if you don’t believe that Satan is real, let me share this.
In the Apostle’s Creed, one of the most recited liturgies in religious history, we say that Jesus was, “Conceived by the Holy Spirit.” Think about that for a moment. That’s a supernatural declaration of a supernatural God—one that Christians all over the world speak from their lips on a weekly basis. To remove the supernatural from the story is to remove God completely.
We have inadvertently allowed logic and reason to creep in to the story somehow convincing us that our enemy is named Democrat or Republican or Black or White or Donald Trump or White Supremacy or The Alt Left.
White Supremacy is awful. It’s disgusting. And we should detest it. But don’t detest the people who are held captive by its grip. By that same token, people who deface public property and tear down historical landmarks are expressing their emotions to the point of physical destruction.
This brokenness is the work of our true enemy. Stop throwing stones at people.
The Only Way to Win is to Lose
God’s kingdom is an upside down kingdom. That’s precisely why Jesus said, “those who exalt themselves will be humbled” and “the first shall be last.” We will not win this battle by fighting well. We will win this battle by losing ourselves and calling on our True Ally.
As I pressed into this issue, God reminded me of the story of the Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19, Mark 10, Luke 18). The point of the story is about letting go of the things that hold you captive. For this young man it was his possessions. But for some of us, it’s our opinion, our willingness to defend ourselves, or our past. For some, it’s our sense of justice, our passion for doing right, or our vision for the future.
It’s only when you’re willing to let go of a certain thing that you’ll realize that it has it’s grip on you.
God is a God of justice. He’s a God of mercy. And for time immemorial, He has been the infinite expression of good. Let Him fight the battle. Like Moses said, “Be still. The Lord will fight for you.” In God’s story, we win by losing.
We cannot ignore the fact that sin and injustice are on the rise. But so is grace. As Paul said, “But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” (Romans 5:20)
Today, be reminded that there is one side to take and one kingdom to seek. And that is the Lord’s