These Pictures were picture was posted by a Facebook friend of mine. A Secular Progressive Facebook friend of mine, to be sure, who is sick and tired of hearing that we Christians are sending our “thoughts and prayers” to those who are suffering around the world. It does not take a very insightful mind to discern the meaning and intent of such images – they are meant to demean Christians in particular who react to such evil by turning to our God of redemption and asking for succor and comfort for those who have been attacked; and they are meant to convey the idea that Prayer isn’t real – and thus the idea that God isn’t real. The intent is to demean our faith, our mind-set, and our world view – portraying them as childish and, frankly, useless in the “modern” world. Yes, I say “our” because I can be counted among those who find the power and purpose of my existence in the regenerative, life-giving Spirit of the Living God.
Setting aside the fact that Christian charities – nationally and globally – constitute the majority of all private charitable giving; and setting aside the fact that People of The Book were among the first on the scenes of the terrible destruction that the hurricanes wrought (and are still on the ground serving, even after FEMA has determined that the people no longer meet the criteria of ‘need’) The fallacies that we see evident in such criticisms are primarily two-fold: The first is a shallow and naïve world-view, the foundation of which is a misguided faith in human kind; and the second is a shallow and misguided understanding of what it is and what it means to be a submitted follower of Jesus Christ.
As we read in Paul’s teaching, there is nothing new about the human condition. The words above written two-thousand years ago ring clearly in our hearts and minds today. Our selfish, prideful and shallow nature was on full display then just as it is now. Human kind was corrupted at the fall and this corruption is an integral part of creation – an integral part of the Christian world-view. Followers of Christ have their spiritual eyes opened to the reality of good and evil and the reality of the spiritual warfare between the two. We embrace the corruption of our natures, so to speak, and understand that if we are indeed capable of doing good – selfless good from which we expect no reward from others – then we must submit our wills to the will of the living God, repent of our sin and believe in Christ the redeemer.
The secular progressive turns to evil man in order to solve the problems that evil man has created. This makes no sense to me. It makes sense to the secular progressive because the secular progressive seeks only the empowerment and the satisfaction of self. He or she gives themselves over the fallacy that the ‘good ideas’ of human kind can somehow overcome the very corrupted nature of humankind. Again, it would seem that this thinking is fallacious at best – intentionally defeating at worst. The secular progressive turns away from their creator God and believes that if man could just create, and then adhere to, the correct socio-political structure, all could be right in the world. Could we create more laws through which we try to regulate human behavior? Could we create more powerful, but of course well-meaning, governments to enforce those laws? If all else fails, could we not just eliminate those people who do not believe as we do and will not submit to such authority?
The Christian’s mind is open to the reality of evil - and its source - and as such cannot adhere to the selfish naivety of the secular progressive. We are not foolish enough to believe that more laws, more power to enforce those laws, a more authoritarian form of government that would suppress human behavior, or the re-education of the populace so they no longer hold empowering world views but cling only to the shallow vision of the secularist, are the appropriate responses to a corrupt world. The Christian understands that change in a person’s nature happens one submitted soul at a time and that happens only through the power of the Holy Spirit ministering to the believer – and through the believer.
18Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20 NLT) Saving the world is not a simple task – it is a very difficult task – but it is a task, a commission, that believers have been given by Christ Himself – and it happens, quite literally, one conversation at a time. Human nature can be redeemed, but not by our own power and authority. It is the redemptive power of Holy Spirit who moves our natures from selfish to selfless that will change the world and defeat evil – and it begins with the single submitted believer who lives in relationship with his or her creator and then shares that relationship, in all of its simplicity and complexity, with whomever Holy Spirit places in their path.
Oh – and about the question of the effectiveness of prayer; let us not forget the Christ Himself when He prayed, “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. 10May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 11Give us today the food we need, 12and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. 13And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. 14“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:10-15 NLT)
Wow. “May your will be done on earth as in heaven” – I am thinking that be possible if 2.2 billion Christians actually behaved like 2.2 billion followers of Christ?
And yes, I forgive those who offend me as a Christian – because I live in a state of forgiveness. I see a bigger picture than that which humankind can paint and I revel in the power of my relationship with the Living God. My heart is not made bitter by the words and deeds of the secular progressive. My heart aches for their salvation – and the salvation of the world.