Choose Your Battles… Wisely

I watched a trending video on social media that was tagged, “When Will Christians Take a Stand?” The video was of a young woman being kicked, stomped, and brutally killed while men recorded the attack with their phones. Her death was allegedly because she refused to deny her Christian faith.

However, that wasn’t the truth. The person who posted the video removed it with a disclaimer stating, “We have removed the video after finding out it was from 2007 and wasn’t an example of anti-Christian persecution.”

As a Christian, I was enraged when I saw that video. When I learned it wasn’t what I thought it was, I experienced a measure of relief. And then a moment later as the reality of a young woman brutally murdered by wicked, evil men pierced my heart and mind and I was angry again.

Did I feel relief when I learned this was not the murder of a Christian because I didn’t want to think of a day when my children and grandchildren might have to endure similar persecution? Was I relieved because it meant I could go back to the security of my little world where things like that just don’t happen?

I don’t want to fight that battle. That is more than a battle, it is a war against evil and the battlefield seems to be spreading over the world. We hear all the time how Christians are being killed simply because they are Christians. We hear about sleeper terrorist cells in the U.S. We are warned that Christian persecution is increasing. We sense that evil is advancing.

We know from the Book of Revelation that Jesus is the final Victor, but as we await his return what are we doing to fight evil? Are we waiting for Dr. Phil to analyze and convert the killers? Are we hoping Kelly and Michael will interview the terrorists so we can all know what’s really going on? Are we trusting the writers of CSI, SVU or NCIS to unravel the mystery of the mislabeled video?

As Christians we must take stands, but we need to prayerfully seek God’s wisdom to know which battles are legitimate. Our battles probably won’t be life or death battles… yet. However we are fighting for the eternal life or death of people around us. Are we contending for the gospel or simply being contentious? Are we fighting to win souls to Jesus or to advance a personal agenda?  The Evil One is a master at distraction; is he distracting us from the front lines by setting back fires that keep us from fighting the war?

What battles did Jesus fight? He fought death. He fought evil. He won. He showed the world how much the Father loves every single person.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16 NIV

Jesus died for all, but not all will believe; not everyone will accept his sacrifice on their behalf. Because we don’t know who of today’s unbelievers will become tomorrow’s faithful follower of Christ, we must treat every person as Jesus would.

As for murderers and terrorists, we can trust that God knows what is going on…

“For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?

The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them.

The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.

On the wicked he will reign fiery coals and burning suffer; a scorching wind will be their lot.” — Psalm 11:2-6 NIV

As for people we don’t agree with on a given topic — we can follow God’s Word…

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” — Romans 12:9-10, 14, 17-18, 20-21 NIV

In what battle are you fighting? Have you chosen your battle wisely? Sometimes the the most difficult battle is the battle to recognize just who the enemy is.

“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 NIV

Before we engage in any battle perhaps we should ask: Would Jesus have fought this battle? Is there a better way to resolve this issue than fighting? Am I showing Jesus’ love to the people on the other side of the battle line? Who am I fighting for? What am I fighting for? Will this battle end in love and unity among believers or disunity? Is this a true battle or a distraction of the Evil One?

It is time for Christians to take a stand. We must stand against evil. We must stand for Christ. We must stand in love.

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