Beholding The Face Of Evil

Canadian Peacekeeper General Romeo Dallaire returned to Canada a broken man. He had looked the devil in the eye and shoke his hand in Rwanda. He witnessed the massacre of 800,000 Tutsis by Hutus in the span of a few days. His pleas to the United Nations and the World fell on deaf years as he begged for more troops to stop the genocide. In 2004, General Dallaire wrote his autobiography entitled “Shake Hands With The Devil” relating his horrific experience in Rwanda. This book was made into a movie in 2007. I strongly recommend both.

This morning, I was in a courtroom where two Christian brothers were being arraigned for kidnapping when they rescued a young girl from sexual exploitation and brutalization at the hands of her step father. Thank God, that all charges were dropped but I beheld the face of the devil and his minions (the girl’s own birth mother among them) as they sat in the courtroom confident that they would not be prosecuted by the law. My blood ran cold as they cursed and swore when the charges were dropped. Sadly, these men and women will probably not be taken to account because the girl in question who is 17, is too frightened of them to testify, let alone press charges. Even sadder still, there was not a single reporter from the media present and this frightful event would probably not make the papers, radio, or TV.

In the ministry in which I volunteer, we see the face of the devil everyday; we witness the result of his handiwork in broken lives and families, and we hear the rhetoric of his gospel declaring that there is no God or that God does not care, or that God is responsible for evil. Sadly, the vast majority of my brothers and sisters in Christ in this city have no clue of the cosmic battle that rages on their streets. We seem to be more concerned with cushioned seats in our sanctuaries, the size of our signs, the kinds of music played in our services, and the lengths of our pastors’ sermons. We preach a God of love and mercy neglecting his righteousness and judgment because we do not want to offend. We focus on the prosperity that He can bring, the healing which we are due, and the joy that He brings. We wrap Christianity in neat little packages, perfumed, and decorated with lace and ribbons tied up in bows. We are afraid to share the whole Word of God, shunning words like sin, blood, judgment, holiness, and righteousness, because we are more concerned about political correctness than Biblical correctness. We dress it up by saying that we are trying to get people to come to Christ and that we want to preach a “non-threatening” Gospel.

I started blogging on this site because a young man with whom we had been working died of a drug overdose and I chose the nickname “Arisensleeper” because the Holy Spirit convicted me that we MUST awake!! (Arise O Sleeper! Awake!)

I would love to live in a world without conflict and strife. In a comment I wrote recently, I said:

I recall a young Christian man who went to the Sudan to serve God among child soldiers and children caught in the slave trade. I remember him crying as he told us how he held a rifle in his hands guarding a group a children from marauding slavers. How he had never held a rifle in his life and never wanted to. I remember how he explained being confronted with the terrible decision to have to stand and protect.I visited a street missions in the Bronx where the director, a Godly man, kept a colt 45 in his drawer and a baseball bat behind the door because standing up to gangs and dealers to safeguard those the Lord called him to save was more important than our self-described North American Christian sensibilities. I remember how he kneels and prays each morning and night asking God to spare him from having to use that firearm or that baseball bat.I recall the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer whose Christian values were challenged in light of the evil of Hitler’s regime and felt the Spirit’s prompting that he had to preach against those pastors who had begun to preach a Nazi gospel. I recall he he obediently did so till he was banned from preaching and how he had to flee the country because he would be drafted into the German army. I remember how he was convicted to return to Germany from the safety of the United States because he could not call himself a Christian in the comfort and safety of the well appointed apartment and a teaching position in the States. I recall his obedience to return to face a certain death – to challenge an evil cancer in his homeland. How he ended up confronting the price of his faith and what it meant when he joined the resistance, becoming first a double agent, than part of a plot to assassinate Hitler.

There are numerous other testimonies such as these where Christians are faced with situations that cannot be wrapped up in neat little Christian parcels in which what we believe and stand for is not tested. Here in the comfort of North America, we are lulled by political correctness and an illusion that the battle does not exist. In our false sense of peace, we stand by when the God is profaned, heresies taught, and the Word is distorted excusing ourselves proclaiming loudly that we must not judge and we must preserve peace, preferring to live our lives in neat little bubbles.

Jude 1:3-4 tells us that we must contend for the faith given once for all, but how many of us have really asked ourselves what that means? How many of us sit by willing to see the lost and the desperate led astray. How many of us are willing to sit by and see young impressionable Christians deceived? All in the name of what? I am certain it is not God or Christ. If we cannot contend for the faith in an era of “peace” how will we contend for the faith in times of trouble? Where is our love for the lost sheep and the little children?

I offer this not as a rebuke to anyone but as a reminder that Church is not confined in neat little buildings with steeples and nice music and that we will all have to get serious about what it really means to be a Christ follower. Mind you, I am not advocating taking up arms or vigilantism, I have fought a war and never want to have to again. Nor am I advocating that we become raving apologists for Christ. What I am asking is what we do when we are confronted with evil and false teaching. What I am asking is for us to consider what it means when Jude says that we must contend for the faith in light of “ravenous wolves in sheep clothing” (Matthew 7:15), “ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:4)

Recently, I have tried to speak boldly against our complacency … the distortion of Scripture, and the preoccupation with ourselves. I know that some do not like what I say, but we really do have to wake up. Being Christian means taking up our crosses and following Him. It cannot be wrapped up in our neat little packages. Our Faith is God’s gift to us. Scripture is God’s gift to us. Yes He is the author and finisher of our Faith, but let me ask you to consider this. If we believe that all our resources, our finances, our possessions, our work, our families, our friends, and our churches are also God’s gifts … gifts we must steward … why is it that we do not consider our Faith the same way?

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, slavery is alive and well in the Sudan. Children are taken from their homes and families and forced to become Child Soldiers daily. Millions still live and die in abject poverty. People continue to die of AIDS. Drugs run like rivers on our streets. Young men and women are forced into prostitution in our cities. Where is the Church? Where is the Christian, the Christ follower? Am I saying that there are none among us who toil in the fields? No. My heart goes out to them and I thank and praise God for those among us whose faith is not just manifest in their words or their church attendance. Nevertheless, the Lord reminds us that the harvest is plentiful and the workers few. I urge us to put feet to our faith, to live out our declarations, and to contend for the Faith given once for all. I urge us all to be grounded in the Word, soaked in prayer, and engaged in tangible acts of Christian love. Ask the Lord to show you how He has equipped you in the battle and when He answers (and He WILL), obey. Dearly beloved, not all of us are equipped to fight in every battle and in every arena and in the same way, but we are all equipped. Dear brothers and sisters, the battle is enjoined and the enemy has taken the field. Put on the full armor of God and stand! Take the field with the belt of TRUTH firmly girded, the breastplate of righteousness firmly fastened, your feet shod with the Gospel of Peace, protected by the shield of Faith, the helmet of Salvation upon your head, and the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God hidden in your heart! (Eph 6:10-17), Amen.

By the Spirit of His conviction,
Arisen

About arisensleeper

I am a pastor of a Baptist Church and a university professor of Communication Studies in a small Liberal Arts University in Canada. My passion is to see Christians grow in Christ so we may all serve in fulfillment of His Great Commission in the obedience of His Great Commandment.
This entry was posted in CHRISTIAN LIFE AND THE WORD, CHRISTIAN MISSIONS, PRAISE THE LORD TESTIMONIES and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Beholding The Face Of Evil

  1. ptl2010 says:

    May the Lord help Christians everywhere to be bold in our stand for love to our fellow human beings. Not just talking but showing forth in action that we care and will help to provide relief in the face of evil. I have also classified this blog as a Prayer Request because truly we need this reminder to pray to the Lord : Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
    Thanks arisensleeper for this timely reminder.

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