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Monday, April 23, 2007

Christian view of Martyrs

When is it right to be a martyr? Is it always right? Is there a time when the proper Christian response is to fight?

Virginia Tech, Columbine, the war in Iraq, a mugger, an employer high on his own feelings of power, a child whose bullied at school or even a situation where you know someone is being abused. When is it right for a Christian to step into an evil situation and fight?

The good Christian is taught on a regular basis that any anger or strife is bad. We are taught that all words must be filled with soft tones and that it is wrong to bring hardship on an evil person.

"A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger." (Proverbs 15:1)
"The discretion of a man defereth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression." (Proverbs 19:11)
"Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man thou shalt not go; Lest thou learn his ways and get a snare to thy soul." (Proverbs 22:24, 25)

Good stuff....if taken in context. Bad theology if used as a way of life.

If you take a step back and study theology as a whole unit, you will come to the conclusion that the Bible supports that we are here for a purpose. Our main purpose as Christians is to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and to stand up for what we believe in. Standing up for truth - the truth of God - is going to put us in direct opposition to many people. We will find that our light becomes a spotlight to the evil that lives around us. And guess what? They will hate that spotlight. They will want to destroy the spotlight. And if we simple turn it off ---we are then hiding our light under a bushel.

We have been commanded to let our light shine before men. "Ye are the light of the world!" (Matt. 5:14) And if we hide it we are breaking a huge Biblical commandment.

But if we let it shine, we will be attacked. "Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." (John 3:20)

And the most alarming problem is that if we remain quiet, if we choose not to fight with evil - evil will then have an easy path to success. With no one to fight, they will take over and spread their evil ways to the ends of the earth - killing Christianity in the process.

Looking back at scriptures on anger I am convinced that those scriptures are encouraging us to not be a hot head. Don't call people names. Don't run around trying to get people fired for not putting lettuce on your hamburger. Don't make foolish demands on obviously overworked employees and don't hurt the innocent around you. In all of your dealings try to see both sides and do what you can to deal with the situation with the love of God.

But just like God, when we see a situation that is definitely evil and will cause harm to others -we must take action. Stand up for what is right. Put on the whole armor of God and go to battle. It is possible to fight without being a hot head.

Practical application :

Parents - do not be timid when it comes to the safety of your child. Again, don't call people names or get so red in the face that you look like you will explode. But do stand firm and strong and using a solid tone of voice - demand that your child will be taken care of. You have that God given right and the law of the land supports that right.

I know of a situation right now where a child is being threaten at school. She has received a note from another 11-year-old that expresses her desire to - "cut you up in little pieces and watch you die." The mother in this situation doesn't want to call the police because she doesn't want to make the other parents and the offending child feel bad. "We are just going to pray about this and let God handle it."

I am certain that God has cupped his hands around his mouth and is yelling from heaven..."NO! You handle this. You take the proper steps to protect your child. I will help you." And unfortunately her misplaced kindness will not be well received, she will still be hated and the offending child will never receive the help she desperately needs. In the process her own child will be hurt mentally, possibly physically and if God chooses to wait on the mother rather than healing the situation - then her own child will suffer spiritually because of conflicting opinions about God's intervention. In other words, refusing to handle the situation will only make it worse.

No woman should ever endure abuse by her husband in order to stay married. Leave him, get out, protect yourself and your children.

No man should run from a fight or turn and look away when someone is being abused. Stand up and be the protective man God called you to be. Don't let evil succeed. Ron (my husband) tells a college story about him and his best friend Dwayne driving through town. They stopped at an intersection and saw a man beating a woman. Without so much as a thought they left the car running, jumped out and intervened in the situation. That was a Godly thing to do.

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke (1729-97)

We cannot use our Christianity as an excuse so we won't have to deal with a difficult situation. God has called us to be strong Soldiers not wimpy victims.

When we can apply the love of God to any situation - we should. But don't sacrifice yourself when it is not necessary. Stand up in God's power and fight the good fight. Protect your family, your own life, your church, your city and your country so you will be able to continue to share the good news. Shine your light. And when evil is exposed - do whatever is necessary to
remove that evil so your light will continue to shine.

Don't be afraid. God is on your side. "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and love." (2 Tim. 1:7)

What do you think?

God loves you


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