Saturday, August 2, 2014

Fresh Evidence for the Existence of Satan. As if We Needed More.

The image is jarring.  This is what I saw when I read the news on the BBC website this morning:


This is a Russian-supported rebel leader in Eastern Ukraine speaking at a news conference. In this news conference he admits to 'extrajudicial' killings by rebels in order 'to prevent chaos'.  Translated, rebels took men and perhaps women who they considered dangerous (i.e. who disagreed with them) and shot them without due process or any respect for their humanity or their families. This sort of thing is drearily familiar enough in civil conflicts across the world.  But it is the prominently displayed flag behind the rebel spokesperson that makes me sick to my stomach.  It is an Icon of Christ.

Evidently Christ is being paraded out in support of these sorts of atrocities, in support of this so-called movement, in support of this so-called rebellion.  Jesus, who never sanctioned violence against Rome or against Jewish leaders who opposed him, who never sought to lead a rebellion of any sort against the occupying Roman powers in Palestine, who never sanctioned guerrilla-style raids against local infrastructure,  who never ordered men and women who disagreed with him lined up and shot, who never gave any orders to shoot passenger aircraft out of the sky - this Jesus is evidently being forced by men who have lost all sense of right from wrong and who think nothing of ending the life of another person who, like them, is made in the image of God, this Jesus is being used by these men to give the appearance that God himself supports their cause and the means used to accomplish their ends.

It is helpful at this point to be reminded that the Jesus portrayed on the icon said, 'This is how you will know those who follow me, because they will love one another.'  And the apostle Paul says in another place, 'But the fruit of the Spirit is love'.  Wherever you find love, and the deeds of love, and the giving of self for the sake of another, there in that place and in those lives you will find Christ.  The presence of love is the incontrovertible evidence of the presence and work of the Spirit of Christ in a person and in a community.

But where there is hatred, where there is murder, where there is lying, where there is drunkenness, where there is robbery, where there is rape, where there is abuse, where there is bullying, you can be sure that the spirit  at work in the lives and in the circle of people from whom such things pour forth is not from Christ, but rather from the father of lies himself.  As Jesus himself once said, 'The way to know the tree is by its fruit.'

It is evidently a very easy thing to display an icon of Christ.  It is another thing altogether to live in such a way that one becomes the reality so portrayed.