Tom with kids in Kuwait

Tom with kids in Kuwait
Tom with kids in Kuwait

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Posts, Tweets, and the Father of Lies

Most of the time when I see things online that are just so far from reason and righteousness, I let it go.  Confronting all of them would be putting my best efforts into things that have little impact.  It’s not always wise to engage.  Some people are not looking for truth.

I do love the discussions that fit into the iron sharpens iron category, but they are few.

Sometimes the deception is so subtle that believers jump on the bandwagon.  I stand in the gap more often in these cases than for the senseless melee of other posts, discussions, and hateful diatribes that only consume my time and resources.

I know that many feathers will be ruffled among those apologizing for being caucasian as if skin color were our choice and not God's, but this examination bears consideration.  I know that many will never make it to the end of this article as it asks us to examine what we endorse and approve and share.

Here is one case-in-point where so many have landed on the bandwagon and don’t know what they signed off on.

Let's examine the post.

“That white people.”  

Had the post started with “That black people” it would have been declared racist and rightly so.  Lumping black people into one group as if there were no individual lives to be considered within that group is not only racist, it is ignorant.

The same is true by casting all white people into a single group.  It’s racist.

So, three words into this post we have a racist premise and are off to a bad start.

Next, we see the words “think [that] the [Civil] Rights [Movement] was exclusively Rosa Parks sitting politely and [MLK Jr.] being ~peaceful~”  as part of what is presented as the premise.  Who among us thinks or believes this?

If we don’t think that the statement is true for us, how can we assign it to others?  Even if we do think the statement applicable to our own lives, who are we to impose our shortcomings upon the greater group?  Are all not entitled to their own thoughts and beliefs?  Anytime that we find ourselves assigning thoughts and beliefs to others, we have indulged ourselves in self-righteousness.  It can feel good in the moment but has no efficacy.

And for those who lived during this time, MLK Jr. was a peaceful presence and influence in a violent time.  Why was he killed?  He was effective, much more so than the violence that surrounded him.  He effectively put God’s words into practice.

Had he not been effective, he would not have been a target for those who opposed him.

And just as a pet peeve here, it’s Reverend Doctor.  MLK reduces a godly man and effective leader to something that fits on a street sign.

We might believe that some people think the way that the author portrayed in the tweet/post.  That’s our opinion.  When we make it a premise for an entire group of people, it’s clever deception.  I say clever because so many intelligent people buy-in to it in spite of its deception.  Too many get on the emotional bandwagon of the day and satisfy an emotional craving to do something so they like and share.

It is easier to presume and promulgate as fact, things that fit the desired narrative than it is to search for facts and truth and let the narrative develop in genuine fashion.

Here’s the kicker.  It resides in the next two words:  “is proof.”  When the premise is false, all that follows can be made to appear true. 

What is proven?  “that our educational system is rooted in white supremacy” according to the author.

Our educational system has faults.  Show me a man-made system that doesn't.  Some faults or defects can be traced to various roots but claiming that white supremacy must be the culprit based on the emotional wave of the week has no merit.  When the premise is false, one can claim that global warming is the culprit.

Our educational system, especially history, has been redacted and sanitized in so many ways.  Could there be a white supremacy element involved?  Quite possibly, either actively or passively or as the default setting.  It should be explored and investigated not given presumed veracity.

Were we to systemically inspect our educational system, we might find many elements that altered what was once presented in a fairly straight-forward manner.  History as taught in the educational system has always been edited to reflect many motivations, not all of them self-evident nor beneficial.

Here is what I note of our educational system from this post and its following.  We no longer teach thinking skills.  We are so vulnerable to red herrings and non-sequiturs that the Father of Lies is having a heyday with social media.  We are governed by our emotions so much more than the sound mind that God gave us.

Hate and guilt have been leveraged as never before and so many have turned off their sound minds.  Fear of contradicting the majority sentiment rules.

Let’s continue with the next words:  “Black history.”  Let’s say for the sake of argument that many white people are ignorant of the struggles of the 1960’s and that white supremacy is among the primary suspects in the short-comings of our educational system, why is it that only black history affected?  If the premise is valid, is not all history damaged?

What small minds we engage when we think that the thoughts and beliefs of one group only impact one other group. 

Had the premise not been false, the last sentence in this quip did have some meat to it for all of us.

Let’s consider the thoughts without the premise.   How often do we receive only that which we like and which fits into our comfort zone?  This has nothing to do with black or white but with our human nature.

We gravitate to the easy path.  We like that which fits our current paradigm.  Today, we like and share and can do it without having to engage our minds.  If it feels good, like and share.

Why pick on this post when many others are based more in emotion than intelligence and truth?  So, why this one? Because so many whom I know and love have succumbed to the editorial wiles of the Father of Lies and seem blissfully unaware of what they have endorsed.

Twice in my lifetime, I was accused of being tactful.  I was acquitted on both counts.  Now is not the time to sugar-coat anything.

That said, let’s see if we can find the sentiment that the author may have hoped to convey.  Perhaps:

Bias exists.
People (many white) don’t know much about the violence and civil rights struggles of years past. Many black people don’t either, but that’s not politically correct to note at this time when emotion must reign.  How can that be?  How could black people not know? Consider the ongoing effort to remove the Holocaust from our history books.  More than this, consider why we would presume that all black people know something because they are black.
Part of this is a failure of our educational system.
White supremacy still exists within some people and philosophies.
Racism still exists.
Defining groups (black and white seem to have the top rankings now) is part of what’s happening.
People want to show cause and effect even if it requires manipulation of the facts.
What I couldn’t find in this post was a legitimate purpose.  Its lack of merit leaves it by default designed to emotionally assign blame and promote hatred disguised as a counterfeit quip of wisdom.  It was designed to get likes and shares and infiltrate the minds of those who want to follow Jesus.  The Father of Lies must have put in some overtime.

There are times to assign blame.  If we must do this, then we should exercise the sound mind that God gave us and not succumb to the deception of the devil. 

I know emotions are running high.  People feel helpless and liking and sharing something proffered as truth is enticing and gratifying.  The problem is that jumping on these bandwagons is like eating candy for three meals a day.  It tastes good in the moment and might even give you a temporary high,  but it offers no real sustenance.

So what do you do with your out of control emotions and continuing dissonance?  Surely, we are called to action, aren’t we?

All of us who profess Jesus as Lord have been called to action for some time.  His command to love one another and be known by our love didn’t just pop up after a school shooting, terrorist attack, or very public murders.

Hate is at work in the world and we might feel helpless.  Why?  There is one word in this perverted tweet or post that hits the target:  comfort.

Christians have grown comfortable in our situations when we should have grown in faith and love demonstrated in our actions.  We got comfortable and things that we should have addressed for years with love and mercy and compassion got away from us, but we maintained our comfort zones.

Many are uncomfortable now from being comfortable for so long.

Ask this.  How much of my life is consumed by work, bills, television, internet, sports, entertainment, and so many distractions when we are called to put God first in our lives?

We already know how to work God in here and there if it’s convenient, but how do I put him first and live as his disciple and truly make a difference in the world.

How do I put him first?

I love God, mostly by talking with him daily and listening more than I talk and by doing what he tells me.  We must know his voice.

I love others, yes even when it’s not convenient or when they don’t love or like me.

I tithe.  What?  This is the only place in the Bible where God tells us to put his promises to the test so that he may provision his people (today that’s his church) to do the good works that he planned for us long ago.  OBTW, there are also direct blessings for us.

I trust.  I believe that God is real, he is love, he loves me, and he loves his creation so much that he took it upon himself to take away our sin in his own blood.  He has reconciled creation to himself.  I trust that he is still at the helm and has good plans for us.

I obey.  Wow!  There’s a whole bunch that God told us to do.  We are blessed that Jesus fulfilled the law and all prophecy about him.  He did what we could never do and in him is our obedience.  Jesus gave us a primary command, that we love one another.  Love fulfills the law. 

I fulfill my commission.  Jesus did not only send us into the world with good news and his love but also with his authority.  Why are we so quick to jump on the cause of the month when we have been charged with God-given purpose and endowed with God’s authority?

Instead of spending our time developing a taxonomy of sin and throwing our phariseutical flags because someone doesn’t hate one sin more than another, why don’t we live by love?  That’s what God told us to do.

You would think if we knew the voice of the Good Shepherd and responded to his commands, love might have picked up some momentum by now.  It seems that is not the case, but that is no reason for us to discount or discard his command to love in favor of pointing out specks in others’ eyes who don’t condemn with sufficient enthusiasm the things that we condemn.

It is a mark of cowardice not courage or compassion to gravitate to the words of the world when we haven’t really poured ourselves into the simple command of God—love one another.

Fulfill your commission.

Understand that God understands the efficacy that resides in his way.

Get off the emotional bandwagons and get on with living by the law of love.

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