Stand for Truth
My church--a place I love--was vandalized under the cloak of darkness.
While it wasn’t the only target--almost 20 other reports came in from around the county--it hits close to home.
When I first saw the photos, my heart dropped. My stomach sank. I felt sick. I wanted to cry. All normal responses to violation. Other people were angry. Shocked. Also normal.
I couldn’t stop looking at the markings. Whoever did this knows something of the Christian faith. Jesus. Blood. John 3:16. But that means nothing. The Bible speaks over and over that head knowledge DOES NOT equal heart knowledge. Head knowledge...even the evil one has head knowledge. It’s heart knowledge that counts.
And heart knowledge leads to heart transformation.
That is why the Bible--cover to cover, word upon word--it’s entirety, is vital. The Word is first and foremost about who God is, who Jesus is, who the Spirit is...we--humanity--are not the primary storyline.
Oh, we don’t want it to be that way. And until we submit to His authority, we fight it. So did the Israelites.
I am reading through the book of Jeremiah right now. There are so many similarities and parallels to the world around me...to the church around me. But today I want to talk about some verses in Jer 9.
It is written:
“My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot out lies.
THEY REFUSE TO STAND UP FOR THE TRUTH.
They only go from bad to worse.
‘They do not know me,’ says the LORD.
“Beware of your neighbor!
Don’t even trust your brother!
For brother takes advantage of brother,
And friend slanders friend.
They all fool and defraud each other;
NO ONE TELLS THE TRUTH.
With practiced tongues they tell lies;
they wear themselves out with all their sinning.
They pile lie upon lie
and utterly refuse to acknowledge me,”
says the LORD.” (v. 3-6)
The vandalism is a prime example of what happens when we rely on head knowledge and not heart knowledge. When we pick out John 3:16 and refuse to take in the WHOLE counsel of God. We refuse to stand for truth.
In this instance, it is OK for believers to stand up and say, “Vandalism is NOT OK. It shouldn’t have happened, and we’re sorry.”
It is OK for the Christian community to stand for truth.
Racism is NOT OK.
Oppression and abuse in marriage is NOT OK.
Violation of children is NOT OK.
Slavery is NOT OK.
Sexual abuse is NOT OK.
Bullying is NOT OK.
Lewd commentary is NOT OK.
Lying is NOT OK.
Brushing things under the rug in the hopes it will go away is NOT OK.
SIN IS NOT OK.
But where is the hope?
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” (Romans 5: 6-11)
If, as Christians, we refuse to stand for truth...the WHOLE COUNSEL of it...we get head knowledge, not heart transformation. If we, first and foremost, refuse to see that God is above us...ALWAYS above us...we will never be wise. We will never mature. We will step off the narrow road.
But, if we fix our eyes on the WAY, the TRUTH, the LIFE...all of Jesus...even the Jesus who harshly addressed the religious leaders, who brought the disciples’ shortcomings to light and invited them to grow, who flipped over tables...we will find hope.
As I took a second look at the pictures of my church, now covered with head knowledge, I noticed something. Sun rays.
Those sun rays are piercing the dark. God is near. God is THERE. God is moving in my church body. And He promises to bring good...GOOD...to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.
His purpose is His WORD. The whole of it. The double-edged sword of it. The piercing of it. The discerning of it. The hope and the healing of it. The mercy and grace and love, but also the justice and righteousness.
So let’s rise o church. Let’s stand for truth. And the truth will set us free.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)