This morning a lot of the news is focused on what has transpired between Israel and the United States concerning the recent U.N. resolution that was passed against Israel. The list of troubling developments within our world just keeps getting longer and longer. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada but it doesn’t really matter where you live. Many years ago I served with the United Nations Peacekeepers through the Canadian Armed Forces and had the privilege to serve in Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Germany and many other countries throughout the world. People are the same everywhere, they care for their families, love their children and want peace, or at least most do. Everyone has their own point of view, they way that they view things, a perspective of the world around them.
I remember being detained by Turkish soldiers on a road block while on a humanitarian supply run to northern Cyprus and having a young Turkish soldier speak with me. He was about 20 years old and asked me if I was Canadian, of which I responded that I was. He said he liked Canadians and asked me if I had killed anyone. I told him no I hadn’t and that I hoped I never had to. He told me that he had killed many Greeks. This was during the war between Greece and Turkey in Cyprus a good number of years ago. I asked him if it bothered him that he had killed people and he said no, it didn’t. “You pull the trigger and they fall down.” It turns out that he and his younger brother where in a foxhole together a few months earlier when his brother had been shot in the head by Greek soldiers. He didn’t view Greek soldiers as people. They were just objects to hate and kill. If you could put yourself in his shoes, his perspective is not that hard to understand. It’s all that he knew, it’s all that he’d seen.
While serving in Cyprus I attended a Evangelical Protestant church in Nicosia, in the southern Greek part of Cyprus. One of the Christians there was a man called Hercules, who had been the manager of the airport in Nicosia before the war had broken out. My military job was kind of unique in that I had the opportunity to evaluate allegations of confrontations between Greek soldiers and Turkish soldiers in Cyprus. I had the opportunity to weigh the evidence (normally reports that included photos) and some of it was pretty graphic. Short story is that both sides did things that they shouldn’t have done. Without giving details, I told Hercules that and he had no problem believing me when it came to the Turks but did have difficulty believing the Greeks had also done some of the same things.
From a humanistic perspective, we’re all like that. Black and white answers to perceived problems when the truth is, the honest answer is normally in the grey area. Neither side is innocent. Neither side is totally justified. Perceived humanistic “truth” largely depends upon who’s shoes you are standing in.
I see that everywhere that I look today with regard to the seemingly endless list of conflicts we are dealing with.
- Democrats and Republicans divided in the United States
- People of colour and white people
- Police injustice and Police Responsibilities
- National foreign policies and foreign countries
- President Obama and President Elect Trump
- Morality and freedom of choice
- Israel and Palestine
- Christian denominations and Christianity
- and the list goes on and on …..
I’m 71 years old now and the sand is quickly draining from my hourglass. I love my wife, our five children and our six grandchildren. And living in Nova Scotia, Canada, I am truly blessed. But when it comes to the basics, I am not alone, millions and millions of people around the world love their wives or husbands, their children and grandchildren. It literally doesn’t matter what country you come from, what colour you are, or what you have been exposed to during your life, our basic need for respect, shelter, food and medical care, freedom of speech, a fair and just system in which to earn and provide for those that we care for is universal.
I am aware that “some” of the listed “basic needs” are not available to all and that there are shades of grey, but as Christians I think we are losing the “big picture”. A while ago J. Warner Wallace from coldcasecrhistianity.com had a posting where he addressed the topic of “Why Making a Case for the Bible Is More Important Than Arguing About Politics”
Jim made the following statement, “If everyone held an accurately informed Christian worldview, the number (and degree) of disputes over the issues facing our country would be dramatically reduced. In other words, if people took the Bible as seriously as they took their political positions, we’d probably agree on almost everything.”
Now I will admit that is a tall order, but the premise is logical and I like where he is going with this thought. I am so tired of seeing Christian blog postings where someone or something is pictured as the bad guy/wrong and someone else is pictured as the good guy/right when it comes to politics. There is only one “good guy” that I know of and His name is Jesus and Jesus told us that the real “good guy” was his Father. Humanistic truth and Biblical truth are not one and the same.
Ravi Zacharias said the following in a recent post where he was speaking about Hope: “The secular critic despairs at the possibility of the politicization of religion. Rightly so. But what has replaced that fear is equally dreaded, if not worse: making a religion out of politics. Yes indeed, politics is the new creed of the faithless, replacing spiritual truths with the hollow hope of political dominance.” And “It reminds me of the comment that a critic once made of a Prussian monarch: “It is not so much that he likes music, as that he likes the violin. In fact, it’s not so much that he likes the violin as that he only likes the violin when he plays it.” “So hope is reduced to the one who holds the power. What a shallow, earthly philosophy by which to live and hold to! Politics is the new religion, and the idolatry is breeding a broken country where we offer up the past as a sacrifice to a valueless future. Evidently, child sacrifice has different expressions.”
We have our priorities and focus ass backwards (pardon my language), far far too much of the time! As Christians we are instructed to build up, not tear down, encourage not put down, endure not complain, love not hate. And please understand that I include myself in this list of our deficiencies. I find from personal experience that I NEED to spend time in the Scriptures, I NEED to spend time in prayer, I NEED to focus on where and who my source is to maintain my spiritual balance. It isn’t always easy.
Fear is one of the enemy’s most popular weapons that he uses against us as Christians. Worry, anxiety, fear…can overwhelm us with a thick shadow of darkness, controlling our every move, thought and decision. It ought not to be so.
So much crazy going on around us today – wars, conflicts, persecution, violence, crime, natural disasters, terrorism, economic uncertainty, unemployment, divisions, disease, death. We fear for our children’s future, we fear for our families, we fear for our financial future, we fear for our safety. The list goes on…long. Yet God’s words are “life” words, soothing to our minds, calming to our spirits, giving power to our days.
So I leave you with these words of our Father to ponder and take peace in:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
“Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time. Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 12:22-26
“But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.” 1 Peter 3:14
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38-39