It doesn’t matter how hard I concentrate or how many times I watch, I can never figure out where the ball is in the shell game. You know the game, right? The swindler shows you a ball under a cup or shell, moves the shells around and then has you guess where it is. I can with certainty tell which shell it should be under, except it isn’t an honest game. The swindler always moves your attention away from the ball so that you miss the true placement.
Satan has been playing the shell game with the modern church. With great intensity we have tried to keep our eye on the ball, but the devil’s hand distracts our eyes away. With great certainty we believe that our eyes are focused on following God but we have been duped to desire secondary things.
Every week its a new subject. Starbucks cups, Merry Christmas greetings , christian statues, gay rights, black lives matters and most recently refugees grab our attention. Like trained soldiers we all take our posts. The left begins to yell and scream about how intolerant the right is. The right tells the left that they are ruining a once great country. Like Pavlov’s dog we react predictably every single week. I know, I get sucked in just like you.
Did you keep your eye on the ball?
As the shell game continues to move our certainty grows stronger and stronger. We are certain that if we don’t stand up against the Starbucks Cup, keep the Ten Commandment at the city courthouse and force that poor underpaid girl at Macy’s to say Merry Christmas then America will cease to be a Christian nation. We are certain that if we do not yell (or post in all caps) right back at the black lives matter then our country will fall apart. We are scared that if we do not forward every article about Isis and frankly lump all Muslims in with them then we will see mass murders in our streets. Just for safety we need to forward that creepy picture of Jesus.
We have been fooled. The shells are up and the ball is gone. With great passion we lost the passion of God.
Many people say that America is no longer a christian nation. I think they are right.The grand swindler has moved our passion to see our common man as an enemy. How many baristas were turned off to Jesus because we demanded our Merry Christmas? The American culture war has duped christians into thinking that people who disagree with them are people to be defeated. America ceased to be a christian nation when Christians stopped acting like Christ.
The only way to win the shell game is to refuse to play it.
God never called us to win a culture war. Disagree? Please find it in the Bible. God’s call was never to see our fellow man as an enemy. Our call is to love our enemies. It is to pray for those who hate us. Our call is not to see men a causes to defeat but instead people for whom Jesus died. We don’t dumb down what we believe, but we also don’t use our beliefs as a battering ram.
The only way for us to beat the game is to build relationships with muslims, illegal immigrants, members of black lives matter, homosexuals, transexuals and atheists. We build relationships with people we disagree with so as to show them the love of Jesus Christ. When we show them love, it may not come back in return. If we loved others to be loved in return, it wouldn’t be love anyways.
We can be apart of God’s big plan to change the world. Here is the rub. God’s plan doesn’t include making enemies out of sinners. God’s plan is loving people who hate you enough that you would lay down your life for them. That's what Jesus did.