Our social media pages have erupted over BATHROOMS! Bloggers from the left and the right have chimed in about who uses which bathroom. The accusations flow faster than you can flush a toilet:
· You are endangering children.
· You are bullying transgenders.
· You are persecuting my religion.
It is a pathetic display of emotion from both sides. Can we please just STOP?
We are being bamboozled by a master magician—distracted from what is REALLY happening.
These tactics are nothing new. Over two-thousand years ago, another magician used his distraction tricks to hinder God’s plans. Acts 13:6-12 tells the story:
Sergius Paulus, a Roman governor, invited Saul and Barnabas for a visit so they could explain God’s Word to him. Elymas, the magician, wanted to keep the governor from hearing God’s Word. He employed distraction and persuasion. Saul, with the Holy Spirit’s power, rebuked Elymas for taking part in the devil’s deceit. When this rebuke ended in temporary blindness for the magician, Sergius Paulus accepted the Word of God and became a believer.
Our situation today is quite similar. Our current generation is seeking truth. Christ-followers grounded in Jesus want to share the truth with them in love. Our enemy doesn’t want this to happen. To keep believers from their true purpose, he employs distractions and persuasions, too.
· We are distracted by meaningless divisions between true believers.
· We are persuaded that those who disagree with us are hateful, even those we have never met.
· We are distracted by secondary issues which have simple solutions.
· We are persuaded that an attack on our religious tradition is an attack on Jesus.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see clearly. Plead for discernment. Ask Him to show you what is happening behind the magician’s curtain. Then, with His power, yank that curtain aside to reveal the root cause of our culture clashes.
It’s not that these culture wars don’t have genuine right versus wrong issues. The problem is that bathroom debates and similar arguments have kept us from living as true children of God. They can make us blind to our true purpose. While we are fighting about which commode to use in Target, we turn people away from Jesus, rather than to Him.
“And then [Jesus] told them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” –Mark 16:15-18 NLT
Notice Jesus didn’t say that those who believe will be known for their impressive cultural arguments. He said that true believers will be empowered to spread the Kingdom of God through miracles: spiritual deliverance, learning new languages, healing, etc. Maybe we should focus more on our true calling to share the Gospel than on protecting our culture and traditions. Because Jesus trumps culture–every time.
When we put first things first, all things fall into place. When we seek to reach out in love with the message of repentance and freedom in Christ, all the culture clashes will work themselves out. Let’s leave cultural warfare behind and return to the spiritual warfare we are called to.
“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”–Ephesians 6:10b-12 NLT