Dirt. It makes things less clear than they are meant to be. Mixed with water, it becomes mud. Dried in the sun, it becomes almost like concrete. Dirt sticks.
Dirt. Everybody likes hearing it, when it isn’t about them. Nobody is immune to the sick thrill of dishing it-or worse-storing it away for future use. An insurance policy of sorts. Just in case. And we all have vaults and vaults of it tucked away in our brains.
Dirt. Everybody’s got some right? Skeletons in closets-men behind curtains…whatever adage you want to attach to it. Our culture-and possibly even past personal experience indicates that people are not worth trusting. Turn on your TV or log onto social media and you will find headlines, posts, and stories all indicating the following:
People are liars.
It’s all a big scam.
Nothing is as it seems.
We are being lied to.
Follow the money.
Behind the scenes.
Don’t be deceived.
It’s only this, it’s only that…until it takes away everything
If you knew what I knew
I’ve seen it
I heard it
I was there
I know something you don’t know
Did God really say?
Every word above entices us to learn more, because every word above instills doubt in what we believe to be true. And doubt mixed with gossip-becomes like water mixed with dirt-muddy.
I’m not saying some of the conspiracy theories floating around aren’t true. I worked in government long enough to tell you straight to your face that yes, some people that you believe in and elect to office are downright liars. They’re crappy people. They abuse the power they possess. There are personal agendas at play in everything. There is good reason not to trust some people in leadership positions. Following the money can expose a lot of truth. It’s important to be aware of the possible hidden agendas behind certain political rhetoric and by all means it is your right to question. The absolute truth? Government corruption is real. Systematic racism is real. Sexism is real. Abuse of power is real. Pedophiles are real. Hidden agendas are real. Hatred is real. Viruses are real. Death is real. Using social, economic, educational and even religious agendas to pad and support political agendas on every side is real. Politics is real. All of these things do exist.
There are elements of all of these theories floating around that point to issues that are 100% real. And there is real reason to be upset. To question. To disagree. To worry even. But there has been a dramatic shift in the last several months in our collective response to such realities; and it’s not been a healthy response.
So today, I’m going to go there. Because we can’t really afford not to go there. People are getting hurt. People I love are getting hurt. And on a larger scale, people I know and love are self destructing out of doubt and fear and lack of trust. So, buckle up.
In Genesis Chapter 3, verse 1, the serpent hisses the following words to Eve in the Garden of Eden; “Did God really say?” And thus, doubt was born. And thus, sin was born. He took a small element of truth-watered it down with doubt-made it muddy-and Eve acted upon her doubt in sin.
Think of the above scenario in these terms:
The fact: God told Adam the following in Genesis 2:16-17: “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’
The doubt: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)
(Notice how this is completely opposite of what God said by adding the words “must not”. The general statement and words used were almost exactly the same as the original command given to Adam but with a key two word change that altered the whole statement)
The muddy version of truth after the seed of doubt was planted: “The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
(God never said anything about touching the fruit from the tree. Eve added that one on her own. Very first instance of taking God’s law TOTALLY out of context and adding our own stipulations)
The doubt Satan placed around God’s good motives: “ ‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'”
(God knew exactly what would happen if Eve ate the fruit. And it wasn’t the glamorous wisdom in which Satan implied. He placed the boundary around the tree out of protection. But because of the doubt that Satan planted, protection was projected as God protecting only himself)
Result: Eve ate the fruit. She gave some to Adam. He also ate the fruit. And thus, sin entered the world and the need for Jesus was revealed. You can read the whole story in Genesis. Just a warning though-the people’s lives don’t get any less messy. They don’t get any less flawed. Even those that commune DAILY with God. Even those in leadership. The only person in the whole book entitled “The Bible” that was and is perfect, was Jesus. And he has a lot of words on how we treat those “less perfect” than him.
As an American, you have freedom of speech much like as a Christian you have freedom to make your own choices which is also a valuable lesson we learn in Genesis. However, you are also subject to natural consequence as a result.
In Adam and Eve’s case, God spared their lives. But-they didn’t get out of jail free. A whole slew of consequences were thrust upon them and the world in which they inhabited. Consequences we are still living with today.
When you choose to make statements-privately, publicly, on social media, etc.-those words have weight and are a representation of not only WHO you are but WHOSE you are….and I don’t just mean your mama and daddy.
As Christians, we are on a different playing field so to speak.
Ephesians 6:12 tells us the following: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Yet, from the hurtful comments, venomous words, sarcastic memes, and downright nasty conversations I have witnessed in the last several months-specifically the last several weeks-you wouldn’t believe the battle isn’t against flesh and blood. Because that’s sure who we Christians are raging it against.
And do you know what happens when you start fighting the wrong enemy? The real enemy gets away with murder. Lots and lots of murder.
Jesus has already won the war. But I’m afraid that a lot of flags are flying half-mast in the heavenly realms right now. Because instead of fighting the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil, we are fighting with each other. And we are suffering heavy, heavy losses.
When Satan instills in us a doubtful nature-one where we never ever look at anyone as having good intentions-we start to doubt the very nature of God himself. We start to wonder if God is who He says He is. We start to wonder what his motives really are…and if they are really for our good. When we begin to doubt God, we doubt his Word, we doubt his truth, we doubt his existence. And then, when bad circumstances arise, we sometimes lose our faith altogether. Satan wins another battle. He ultimately loses. But, that doesn’t mean he can’t and won’t go down swinging.
I’m not talking about the doubt that every Christian experiences from time to time. We all doubt God to an extent at some point in our walk. We all walk through seasons where his presence doesn’t feel close, where life is hard and unfair, where we really feel tested and unsure. But those seasons ultimately lead to growth and a deeper intimacy if we let them.
I’m talking about a dangerous, deep, pandemic-size-proportion level of doubt that infiltrates our whole culture. One that is so ingrained in our minds and our souls that nothing-and I mean nothing-is considered real or truly of value. Not even the very image bearers of God. And from what I have seen of members of my own community in the last days and weeks-I am concerned we are already teetering on the edge of being right where Satan wants us.
If you can’t and don’t trust anything you see-or anyone you meet-how can you possibly trust a God and a trinity you can’t see, with your very life? Isn’t that the basis for our faith? Isn’t that why we all take the Great Commission with such seriousness-because we believe?
I am not arguing that we should be passive or turn a blind eye or walk like sheep to slaughter here. I am simply saying-as we “wake up” to possible avenues of corruption, perhaps we should wake up to the actual destruction happening within our own hearts and minds and homes first.
Matthew 16:26 reads “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
I am not usually a fan of using verses like the one above to make a statement in the way some do on social media-you know the “What’s scarier than wearing a mask? Depart from me for I do not know you” stuff. That’s a really weird way to get a point across in my opinion. However, I think the verse above is appropriate in this context….
Who cares if you’re smarter than everyone else-and the government is really corrupt and out to get you-and you told everybody first-and you commented on legislation on Facebook to let everyone know how stupid they all are and how this person or that person is an idiot and won’t have your vote and you have all of the money and freedom and cars and safety and bald eagles in the whole wide world……but you’re a lonely, miserable, jaded, downcast person with no hope because you have no faith in a God who gave everything he had for you so that you could be free indeed. People that walk in true freedom don’t constantly fear their freedom is being taken away with every single inconvenience or difference of opinion because they do not constantly doubt the source of their freedom. I’m not talking about masks here. This issue goes far deeper.
God has a way of allowing inconveniences in your life to shape you. And you can either walk through those inconveniences or hard circumstances in obedience and trust, or in doubt and sin. For example…
In December of 2019, Jon told me he felt lead to accept a position with his company out of state. We would have to sell our newly constructed dream home-most of all of our belongings-and move to a small apartment in East Louisville with 18 month old twins. We moved January 2nd. We followed in obedience. Messy-and angry on my part-obedience. But reluctantly I trusted that God-and Jon-knew what they were doing and had the best interest of our family in mind.
The first few weeks sucked. Then life got a little easier. Then Covid-19 entered and uprooted us again. Then Jon got a long term job offer with the same company, and long story short I am writing this post in my house that we listed for sale. And as precious as it is being here-and as thankful as I am for the extra time we get to spend here-I don’t know what happens next. And honestly? Right now, I’m not too concerned. Because I know that no matter how bad things get here-here is not the end goal. And there’s hope in that.
Louisville changed my life. It changed my walk with Jesus. I made friends-Camille, Emily, Chelsea and so many others-that changed my life with their kindness. I got involved with an incredible church. I spent days with my children watching Disney movies and eating take out that I will cherish the rest of my life. I knew that though it was scary-and a million bad things could happen-for the first time, I let myself believe the goodness of God before I saw evidence of it-and eventually, everything became evidence of it. I don’t want to even imagine what would’ve happened if I had chose to act on doubt that things wouldn’t turn out well….or if I had written God off as being out to get me because my plans weren’t going as planned….I have done both of those things in the past and choosing trust wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it.
Friends-I know many of you reading this aren’t the ones posting and spitting venom online. But if we aren’t careful-those seeds of doubt will fall onto our soil-and take root. And nothing good grows from that.
In these days-when nothing feels sure-and we doubt and disagree and feel oh so threatened by the world around us- we have to be so careful about the seeds we sow-not only in our own minds and lives, but in the lives and minds of those around us. Because those seeds will take root. And eventually, we will reap what we sow.
Make sure-no matter your opinion-that first and foremost-you are sowing and showing Jesus. Otherwise, you may be participating in Satan’s very dangerous-and very real-hidden agenda. And may God wake us all up to the reality of that.
More late night thoughts…