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Monday, March 18, 2013

The Battlefield

So I am sitting in the Huntsville Cancer Center with my dad.  He is getting his first chemotherapy treatment.  The room is full of people getting their treatments.  It is an interesting sub-culture.  There is an instant community because of the shared disease.  The personalities are varied.  Some are quiet, some interject a comment now and again, and others dominate the conversation.
We are compelled to share what we know but we are in a battle where people do not want to hear what we want to share...
One of the men who, I think, like dad, was getting his first treatment, started to make a comment about the miniseries on the Bible that is currently playing on the History Channel.  Before he finished with his point the dominator personality loudly proclaimed that the Bible had been replaced by evolution and those that believed the Bible - well everyone has to believe something.  Both the tone, demeanor, and context of his remarks did not invite dialog.  Later in the conversation he revealed he was a retired Sargent Major.  My experience with those folks is consistent with him, they do not invite conversation, especially if you are of a different point of view.

While this scene was playing out - it still is by the way - I was reading Jeremiah 20:9.  It occurred to me that this is the dilemma we, as believers daily face.  If we are walking The Lord we have been exposed through the Bible to the unimaginable riches we have in Christ.  We want to share them, we are commanded to, but we want to...  We are surrounded  by a culture united in their disease of sin.  While they may not be getting treatment their leaders are committed to their positions and their explanations of how life works, and they are engaged in making those strategies work, and like the retired Sgt. Major, they are not inviting contrary conversation.  What we would share with them fits into that category.  It is offensive, challenges their world view, and requires a response of humility.

It is no wonder that we are hesitant to share.  It is no wonder that unless God penetrates those defenses there will be no response.


  1. If we have any sort of relationships with people this is a common experience in broad strokes. My first reaction is, "I wish this guy would shut up so I could engage with those a little open at least to discussion." But God put me in the group with them, too. The though thing, of course, about this sort of person is their arrogance - they of course are correct in their opinions (based on various assumed "authority" sources) and therefore everyone else is wrong, and they don't mind letting you know about your ignorance.

    Ancient wisdom held that "A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievious words stir up anger." (Prov.15:1) Sadly, I'm a lot better at the last half than the first. The Apostle Paul's take is ...even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NASB)

    I don't have any answers, really - mostly failures in this. Would love to hear some responses to this. It's a very common situation in our increasingly secularized, polarized society.

  2. I'm with Chuck... generally I'm the lightening rod for the confrontation, speaking out and shutting the dominator down so that the ones actually seeking truth and life in the midst of pain have the opportunity.. and in the midst of that, generally stir more confrontation/strife than getting through to life/truth. Chuck, good scriptures. I think at the end of the day, silence in the midst of this attack is as violent as coming to the defense of the gospel, and often I am reminded that "I am not ashamed of the Good News of Jesus the Christ".

  3. Wow. Great thoughts from both of you. In that context I did not respond as Andy describes, I went out of the room and wrote this...

    I have been processing this continuously for the past two days. How to engage in a way to not obscure truth in the process.

    I think that I am more and more convinced that I have to depend not on what I say or how I say it but on the Holy Spirit using what I say as He will. I am moved to respond as Paul did in Colossians 4:3 - 4.