Listen to the commentary
Why don’t you just tell people that you’re an atheist… and help us in reverse?
Charlie “Tremendous” Jones was a good friend; he moved from Earth to Heaven about 14 years ago, in his 81st Year. His Career was in life insurance, but his Calling was to help people move toward their maximum potential. And… he was an unapologetic follower of Jesus.
That opening line was Charlie’s; he lived to be an ambassador for the Kingdom but was troubled by the stories lived-out by people who claimed to know Jesus but living lives that were more repulsive than reflective. Why don’t you just tell people you’re an atheist, and help us in reverse?
Look around today. In 21st Century America, it seems like many Christians are more enraged than engaged. The culture has departed from embracing Judeo-Christian values to an anything-goes lifestyle that demands personal freedom and rejects societal boundaries.
The fault lines between philosophies have become battle lines that are manned by 24/7 coverage of opinions that demonstrate the entrenchment of people based on their intractable positions.
In this unrelenting wartime environment, it’s worth posing the question anew: who – exactly – is “the enemy?” And, what battle are we trying to “win?”
The New Testament Gospels paint the picture of Jesus – the Jewish Carpenter from Nazareth who was also the Eternal Creator from Heaven – living in an occupied land under the control of a foreign, godless emperor. On one occasion, he dialed-back the use of force by one of his followers by saying that, if He wanted to win a fight, He could enlisted the help of 10,000 angels, but that would have been – for Him – mission drift. That was not the battle He came to fight…
The New Testament Epistles enlighten the followers of Jesus with insight about living faith in a meaningful way leading up to the triumphant return of the Lord Jesus to establish His Kingdom on Earth. In this interim period, Paul said: “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Peter’s agreement could not have been more concise: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
As the daily deluge of hostility polarizes people who pledge to be part of “one nation, under God, indivisible…” the reaction of Christians to the clear differences requires strategies that are superhuman: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
The temptation to be enraged is compelling, but it’s a reaction the Enemy can often exploit to dismiss the Gospel and those who promote it as just-another special interest group out to gain traction. Instead, the directive from the Commander in Chief is to be engaged in bringing the only meaningful solution to the rage of the soul, found in the gift of mercy and grace purchased at the Cross and made available to everyone – in every generation, in every corner of the world – as the antidote to conflict and the transfer of hope and peace.
Christians who see lost people as “the enemy” instead of prospects for evangelism may benefit from Charlie’s wisdom: Why don’t you just tell people you’re an atheist, and help us in reverse?