The Enemy Within

ChrisUncategorized2 Comments

Most people that call themselves “Christian” understand that following Jesus means that we will be faced with persecution for our beliefs. The Bible itself tells us as much (2 Timothy 3:12). Our efforts to spread the truth about who Jesus is and what he has done for us will be met with resistance. Forces will try to prevent us from getting that truth to those who truly need it. Who represents the greatest foe for the Christian mission? Is it truly non-believers like the atheists or the agnostics? Or is it groups like the Jews and Muslims that supposedly believe in our God, but don’t believe in Jesus as the divine Savior? Could it be that we Christians are our own worst enemies?

Such a suggestion may seem out of line, but it may indeed be the truth. It certainly isn’t unprecedented. The existence of Christianity is a testament to that itself. After all, Jesus wasn’t a Christian. He was a Jew.  The birth of Christianity came about because most of the Jews  at the time rejected and persecuted the followers of Jesus.  During his life, Jesus’ greatest enemies were not those that believed in false gods or no god at all. Even a cursory read of the Gospels will make it clear that his greatest enemies were other Jews like the Pharisees that did not want to embrace the truth.

In Matthew 23:15 Jesus said:

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

Jesus was chastising the Pharisees for their evil ways while also making it clear that false teachers can foil the mission of bringing people to God. Thankfully, we now have access to the Holy Spirit, and through that Spirit we each have our own personal connection to God. While we all may benefit from good spiritual leaders, those leaders do no decide our salvation. That doesn’t mean that people who misrepresent the Faith are not a problem. Our mission is to reach those who do not know Jesus. Who can harm that goal more than those who claim to be on the same mission, but spread misinformation? Jesus warned his followers about false prophets, those that would portray themselves as his followers, but would be against his efforts (Matthew 7:15). Do we not see people who purposely or unwittingly play that role every day?

The Bible tells us to love those around us, but we constantly see people who claim to be Christians and preach hate. The Bible tells us that the wage of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and that all sins can be forgiven (1 John 1:9). Still, we constantly hear so-called Christians judge and condemn gays while embracing and accepting the liars, adulterers, and bigots all around them. The Bible tells us that we should not focus on building wealth and riches on earth (Matthew 6:19-21), but we constantly hear about supposed leaders in the Faith using the Faith to enrich themselves. They even go so far as to suggest that God is responsible for their ill-gotten gains. Many of us see these things, know they are wrong, but do not want to speak out against brothers and sisters in the Faith. However, we must understand that we are not the only ones that see the problems in those actions. Nonbelievers, the ones we are supposed to reach, also see those bad actions. How much harder is it for Christians to convince non-believers to follow Jesus when those non-believers do not believe that Christians truly follow Jesus themselves?

We must be careful not to be false prophets that lead would-be believers astray. However, perhaps more importantly, we must not allow a distorted religion to deter people from wanting to know Jesus. If we do not practice what we preach or reveal false teachings and actions for what they are, we will be the ones interfering with our own mission, and, as a result, become our own worst enemies.

Chris Lawyer

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