Sunday, October 15, 2023

Guidelines for Civil Discourse - #3: The Other Is Not Your Enemy

                                              (Linda, reading a book to our grandson Levi.)

The apostle Paul writes:

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.
Ephesians 6:12

So, if it has flesh and blood, it is not our real enemy.

Our real enemies are "the powers of this dark world" and the "spiritual forces of evil." These are the spiritual forces Jesus came to defeat.

Jesus did not come to defeat people. He came to rescue them. In the rescue, the powers of darkness are defeated.

If you are a follower of Jesus you must not demonize others. Even if they anger you. To do that is to wrestle with the wrong adversaries. 

Discuss? Yes. Agree, or disagree? Of course. Wrestle with? That would be like leaving your true opponent on the wrestling mat and climbing into the bleachers and trying to pin the captive onlookers.

If we view and treat one another as enemies, we are engaged in vain warfare.

If an army starts to shoot its own, waging war within itself, this is not only a pseudo-battle, it's going to lead to defeat by the real enemy. If the actual enemy can get us to self-destroy,  it has won.

You and I are not enemies, because we are flesh and blood. If something has flesh and blood it cannot be our enemy.

Sadly, Christians can be tempted, deceived, and even used by the dark powers. (see Eph. 2:2; 4:14) As Ben Witherington writes: “It is all too easy to mistake the human vessel of evil for evil itself.” Pray that we never make that mistake, for if we do the days of hating and hurting and hiding from one another have arrived.

Our struggle is essentially a spiritual one. 

Wage war on that level.

Wage peace with one another.


Guidelines for Civil Discourse: #1 - Love Others