An online friend recently wrote a letter addressing a major current social (and political) issue. She was loving and gracious in her words and responses, and while she is receiving some support, she is also receiving some difficult criticism and verbal attacks from all segments of the Christian and non-Christian community.
She dared to speak truth, Biblical truth, and her own convictions.
But it seems to me, nowadays, when Christians speak up about their beliefs, they get attacked as being non-loving or intolerant. If a Christian has a different viewpoint, why is that automatically considered wrong? Why does this invite belligerence?
It is simply because it is a Christian speaking, simply because it is the Bible being declared.
And that is offensive. It offends the Enemy.
The Enemy is offended by Truth. He attacks Truth when he hears it. The Enemy is cunning, deceitful, and sly. Under the guise of words like “intolerant” and “unloving”, the enemy will attack the Christian speaker, when on the contrary, the Christian believer may truly be genuinely speaking from a motive of love.
Yes, there are indeed many “Christians” who claim to be redeemed and renewed, but are not, and who speak hatred and bigotry. This is not who Christ is and not who Christ asked us to be.
Likewise, there are many “tolerant” and “peaceful” folks out there, who are not Christians, or follow other religions, but also are not fully who they claim to be, either. A “tolerant” person could be tolerant of every other religion or creed– except when it comes to Christianity. It would seem contrary for the tolerant person’s ideology to be against the Christian as well. Yet, this is often the case.
Because the gospel is offensive. The world does not like hearing it.
One of the more difficult aspects of this is that the attacks are directed against the person speaking the truth. The speaker is the one who becomes the target, when actually this kind of situation is reflective of a deeper spiritual battle, with the enemy pounding and rebelling against God. Unfortunately, well-intentioned people get battered in the process, and start to feel personally attacked.
We are in a war, a spiritual war. The real fight is between the “powers and principalities”, the spiritual struggle that is beyond the sight of physical eyes, though the fights may seem to appear to be among ourselves. The fight is a rebellion against God.
I want to remind my friend that the battle isn’t about her, or against her. The same rival since the days of Eden is still here and spewing lies about the Creator of this world, and will attack and twist truth in any devious way possible.
Yet, in these days, it seems to me that we see a greater harshness and a further movement away from the truth of the gospel. Christianity has always been under attack, but today, are we seeing a greater hostility? I am reminded of these words from 2 Timothy 3:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
I see the above in our world: lovers of self, lovers of money, boasting, pride, abuse, disobedience, ungratefulness, brutality, etc…. having a form of sounding “loving” under the guise of being “tolerant”, yet being abusive as well. While we haven’t yet reached the lowest depths of the abyss we can reach, we’re certainly making some headway.
If you have been attacked from sharing truth, take some comfort in knowing this: the battle is not truly against you personally. It is against God and His truth being spoken, His word being declared. If you speak up, expect a mostly negative response. It isn’t a question of “if”, but a question of “when” the opposition will arise. It will hurt, sting, and wound. But it isn’t about you, or about me. It is about Him, and His kingdom.
Your words, your time on earth, have an impact that you cannot even see. This is not our home. We are here for a brief moment in time, before we are in eternity. While earth and creation groan for the return of the Savior, and long for His coming, the world fights and rebels against Him, against the greatest love offered to humankind. Until His coming and subsequent reign, or until we are in eternity, we are caught in time, caught in this fight. But we are told in John 16:33:
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
And that, friend, is some really good news.