Sincere but wrong
Sometimes I feel disappointed with the way bad men seem to
triumph. I see Politicians with evil faces showing hardness and hear their
cynical and liberal policies.
I know from personal observation how well lobbied they are by
special interest groups and those who want laws relaxed so that every kind of
filthiness can be legalised. Intellectual mockers prepare their cases carefully
and work steadily to increase their influence and consolidate their victories.
Many of them believe that by opposing old values they are waging war against
bigotry and prejudice and winning a more just society.
It is possible you see to feel heroic and righteous at the
same time you are under the influence of something wrong. The ardent communist
or nazi believes he or she is a true hero freeing the oppressed of tomorrow. The
end effect is disastrous, and cynical and evil leaders manipulate their
Jesus warned His own disciples that those who were going to
persecute them would believe they were doing God a favour. The Apostle Paul was
one of those. He persecuted the disciples and had them beaten and put in prison.
He did it because he was zealous for what is right. Later he wrote concerning
the Jews -– I testify that they have a zeal for God but not according to true
knowledge. He contrasts God's righteousness given by faith with their attempt
to be righteous by their own efforts. He says the reason was ignorance of God's
own righteousness (Romans 10:2-3) and an unwillingness to be ruled by it.
Some of the people who have had a bad influence on our
society are wilfully corrupt. They enjoy dirty talk or perverse behaviour. They
admire their flouting of convention. They like to see good people squirm. They
consciously choose to rebel and become offensive. Darkness fills their ways and
seems like light to them. They need an encounter with God by revelation. They
need to be confronted with truth and reality by faithful witnesses. They need
folk to pray for them that they might actually perceive that they have been
wilfully in opposition to themselves and to God.
Others are not evil monsters but good people encouraging
monstrous evil, thinking it to be good. Many of those who supported and believed
Hitler were not wicked and hate filled people. They were respectable people
supporting a strong man they believed would deliver an upright society. They
contributed their money, their labour and their influence to a mistaken notion
that imprisoned and murdered millions.
The film maker Bergman spoke of the commonplaceness, the
banality of evil, that does not come as a wicked ogre but as the ordinary and
The Bible says Satan can come disguised as an angel of light.
In other words good people might choose to work for an angel
of light or a good cause and help to establish evil. Which leads us to the most
vital consideration. If we are to see our nation established on right
principles, and if we want a better society, then all of us need to grow in discernment.
The ability to recognise things for what they are, to unmask deceptions and to
anticipate what things are leading to is most necessary. Best of all God offers
it. Discerning of spirits is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It can be asked for and
received. The Holy Spirit Himself is willing to lead us into all truth. Our eyes
can be open to see. This applies to teachers considering a curriculum,
politicians considering policy, financial planners considering social impacts,
areas of law etc. We need to be listening for God's viewpoint, soaking
ourselves in the information He has already provided. We need to face the fact
that even as believers and practising Christians we need our abilities and
reasoning taught by Heaven's values. Much of what we hold to be true could be
wrong... Things are not always as they seem and we, even the finest of us, can
be mistaken, unless we look for His counsel.
Good mistaken Christians invented apartheid or established
Mussolini and Hiltler. Devout believers kept slaves and preached racism in
America's Southern States. Popular notions in our modern Churches may be as
dangerous. 'Let him' the Bible says 'who thinks he stands take heed lest
he fall'. This does not mean we live in fear and uncertainty. That is not the
effect I want my words to have.
What it does mean is that we must be ever learning and
listening to the truth from the Holy Spirit resulting in: love, gladness, peace,
even tempered patience, kindliness, benevolences, true faithfulness and
trustworthiness, humble gentle behaviour, self rule and discipline Galatians 5:22.
We need not be overconfident but to ask ourselves, "is this
God's way? Is it like His character and like His Word? Is this genuinely good
for others in its long term effects?" I believe the Lord arranges for us
encounters with the truth, to shake us from complacency. If we are willing to be
taught, we will be. If we pray for light, it will come for He has said, "Those
who seek shall find". The danger is to abandon the search and to no longer
seek... to get smug.
When I pick up my newspaper and read the news I hear
outrageous statements. I read of outrageous acts. I am not powerless. I can pray
for politicians to see the truth. I can write to them. I can live my life as a
testimony of what is true. I can hold the right side up and so can you. I can
pray for the silencing of lying lips. I can pray for scoundrels to be revealed
in their true light and their lies to be revealed openly. But as I pray for God
to clean it all up I'm aware He might also turn the spotlight upon me, and
reveal some of my favourite notions to contain some poisons and dangers. It may
be painful, but in the long run it will be kind. It will be well worth it.
Sometimes our world view has to be shattered so that it can be rebuilt aright.
What do you truly believe? Who taught you? And are you truly sure they were
right? Not only the Bible doctrines, but each of the values you steer by in
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