Friday, September 21, 2012

Daddy, Why Is It Such A Dark Time In America Right Now?

Daddy, why is it such a dark time in America right now?  I was sitting on the sofa watching the news when my 9 year old son uttered those words.  I paused for a moment as I thought, how un-9 year old that question sounded.  I looked over at him with a puzzled look and asked, “What did you just say?” To which he repeated, “Why is it such a dark time in America right now?” I proceeded to ask him why he thought it was a dark time right now. His answer revealed to me, that he really pays attention to what’s going on in the world and he was extremely concerned.  He said, “Everybody hates our country. They’re burning our flag and killing our people.”  His biggest concern was fear of them doing that here in our country.  This wasn’t a conversation I could dance around.  While he needed to be assured that he was safe, he needed to know the truth.  
While this came from the mind of a 9 year old, there are millions of adults throughout our country that share his concerns.  They watch the events being played out around the world, and they too struggle to make sense of it all.  Is it really simply the result of a pathetic attempt at a video on YouTube?  Can I shoot straight here?  I wasn’t about to sugar coat this for my 9 year old and I am quite outraged by the leadership in our country that insists on doing that with the American people.  The truth is there are people who hate us.  They hate the very core of who we are and what we stand for.  They hate our concepts of freedom and liberty.  They hate the fact that we champion those causes throughout the world.  No, we aren’t perfect and we don’t handle all of our foreign affairs the right way.  And perhaps our behavior at times adds fuel to the fire, but trust me that fire is a fire that has been burning long before the U.S. was even a thought.  

This hatred is nothing new.  It goes back generations.  A quick history lesson… Many people know that Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac.  What many people do not know though is that Scripture records that Abraham had six more sons with his second wife after Sarah had died.  Let me paint the picture for you.  When Isaac was born, there was strife between Ishmael and Isaac, so Abraham sent Ishmael away along with his mother Hagar.  Do you see any potential for some conflict as a result of that?  Now, prior to his death, Abraham blessed Isaac with everything he had.  So, Isaac inherits all of his father’s wealth.  But what about the remaining 6 sons?  He gave them gifts and then sent them away to the east.  Sound like the foundation for some serious conflict?  Throw into the mix the next generation where Isaac’s son Jacob had to run for his life for swindling his brother Esau and the stage is set for generations of turmoil.  So, Jacob, Isaac’s son becomes Israel and there he sits surrounded by cousins who can’t exactly be characterized as kissin’ cousins. These are relationships tainted with jealousy, envy, selfishness, anger, and hatred.   Then, a man named Muhammad shows up generations later and knowing the backdrop of the culture in which he grew up in, is it any wonder why he could pen instructions like this in his book:

“O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” (Sura 5:51).

“..then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)”…” (Sura 9:5)

“O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil).” (Sura 9:123)

“When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.” (Sura 8:12)

Muhammad’s writings contain over 100 verses consistent with these.  And while I know that many Muslims never bother to read this man’s written text, there are those who live by every word of it. That’s a quick summary to give you a bit of historic context to this thing.  No, I’m not writing this to incite anger against a group of people.  On the contrary, I’m simply showing the political, religious, and cultural dynamics that are often avoided in our world of political correctness.   Do you want the truth or would you rather hide your head in the sand and hope it all goes away? While there are those who insist on blaming an anti-Islamic video for the outbreak of violence we see in the world, the truth is they are either disillusioned or simply lying.  Long before there was a video, hatred for who we are was alive and well.  

I looked at my son the other night, and that’s what I told him.  I told him that people hate us.  They are burning our flag because they are making a statement to the world that they hate everything that flag stands for.  But, I didn’t leave it at that.  I told him that these are people who have been blinded by a religious spirit and that they can’t see the truth.  I explained to him when he sees images like this in the news he has to be very careful to guard his heart.  That same anger and hatred is lying at the door of his heart longing to get a foothold.  We have to determine to set our eyes on the real enemy here.  We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the evil spirits and forces that control them.  No, I’m not raising a passive young man, but I am desperately trying to raise a young man who can look at the world with a healthy biblical worldview.  I believe that violence and evil in the world needs a deterrent.  Sometimes that requires the kind of action that costs lives and I completely support that.  

Like most Americans, I see what’s happening and I’m outraged.  I’m angered by every bit of it.  I feel as if I’ve been violated every time I see my flag burning in the streets.  I’m ticked off by the leadership in Washington that I feel has a foreign policy that shows absolutely no resolve and can be called nothing but weak. Having said all of that, I’m trying hard to do exactly what I told my son about guarding his heart.  The tragedy would be me becoming like them.  Somehow, someway as we navigate through all of this, we have to take care that our heart does not become so contaminated with hatred for mankind.  In Christian circles I think there are many who are completely ok with wiping this planet clean of all those who are of the Islamic faith.  Really?  Isn’t this what Jesus addressed with the disciples when they wanted to call down fire from heaven and wipe out the Samaritans? His reply was a rebuke in which He told them they did not know what spirit was behind the motives of their hearts. That type of mindset is inconsistent with that of Christ.  Yes, there needs to be justice. Yes, this violence needs to be met with strength and resolve.  But, in the middle of it all, our hearts need to be clean.  

It’s not an easy balancing act, that’s for sure.  Yet, when we know the truth then we can clearly see things for what they are.  God has an enemy.  One that hates him.  One that hates everything about Him.  He hates the very image of who God is and he’s determined to oppose God to the very end. He’ll use religion as a tool to accomplish his agenda.  He’ll blind mankind and pit them against each other for the sole purpose of destroying the very thing that God loves most, humanity.  The message I was trying to get across to my son the other night was that God loves mankind.  God has fought through man’s rejection of Him, his hatred for Him, and all of his mountains of sin in order to love him.  God’s heart has not become calloused and His love has never been altered by man’s often pathetic behavior.  When Jesus approached Jerusalem one day he wept.  He wept because he loved them.  They had rejected Him and would soon crucify Him, yet He loved them.  When we see the world through His eyes, we’ll be able to see something much deeper than a protest against who we are.  We’ll be able to see humanity in desperate need of a Savior.  I’m not saying we all need to hit the mission field and go into closed Muslim countries to win the lost.  Maybe, all we can do is pray for them but then again isn’t that better than hating them?  Sure, it’s ok to be angry with them and what that are doing, but I long to have the heart and mind of Christ.  I don’t just want to be angry.  I long for my heart to break for the same thing that breaks His heart.  I want His heart for humanity.

Times are tough here in America and all around the world.  I think it’s because the end is near.  Maybe, I’m wrong, but nevertheless, that’s how I see it.  I sleep well at night because my confidence is in my Creator who I am convinced loves me dearly.  I assured my son during our conversation that as a child of God he can be confident that God will be His protector and there was no reason for him to fear.  Is it a dark time in our country?  I’ve thought about that for a couple days now, and I have determined that in order for it to be dark, then someone will have to turn of the light.  14“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV)

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