I was a child of the end of the Cold War. I remember hearing, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." I remember watching the pictures as ordinary citizens swung sledgehammers taking great chunks out of the concrete construction. I remember not quite understanding why it was such a big deal.
Part of the reason I just didn't get it was my age (I was only 11). Part of the reason was that I hadn't lived through the Cold War the way many of our older readers did. I never had a drill where we crouched under desks because of an impending nuclear attack. I wasn't alive when the Cuba missile crisis was taking place. By the time I came along, most of the bunker building equipment had already been converted over to create inground swimming pools.
One thing I do still vividly remember though, was growing up in an era of great national pride. In those days G.I. Joe was still the Great American Hero, Superman stood for truth, justice and the American way. The chants of USA, USA rang out during the Olympics as we had to best the commies even in the games of goodwill.
One thing, looking back, that I realize is that I grew up in an era of propaganda. Tons of the bad guys in the movies and TV had some Russian connection: Rocky IV, the big bad drug infused Russian kills Appollo Creed and comes after Rocky, Boris and Natasha are always trying to go after Rocky and Bullwinkle, the classic Patrick Swayze movie Red Dawn sees a Russian led force swing in and invade America.
And it wasn't a one-sided thing. Years after the USSR was dismantled, and before the current tensions with Putin and the revamped Russian nation, we saw evidence of how Americans were painted in Russian Society. Let's just say not-so-flattering.
As we talked about this past Sunday, in wars (Cold and Hot alike) propaganda has always been a tool countries use. We build ourselves up to look virtuous, strong and morally correct while we vilify and demonize our opponents. Not only that, but we also try to infiltrate the enemy with messages that will demoralize, confuse, and undermine.
The spiritual battle that we fight is no different. The enemy that we fight is trying to distract us, misdirect us, and keep us from joining into the battle. Nothing could make the enemy happier than if those who believe in Christ will choose not to stand for Christ. We're met with lies all the time that tell us this world, this country is too far gone, standing up for biblical principles won't change anyone's mind, you can't make a difference.
The trouble is, that for too long Christians as a whole have been swallowing this garbage and backing down. We sit back and watch as our world continues down a slippery slope of accepted sin because we won't say that God sets the standards and His standards are absolute. We buy into the lie that others won't change so why put myself in harms way.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV)
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
I read the passage in 1 Corinthians that warns us of being deceived and when I go down the list I see the society that we live in, the things that we too often tip toe around because we don't want to hurt someone's feelings. I see things that a lot of groups who call themselves Christians have began to accept and even advocate for, and I wonder how they reconcile the propaganda that they are drinking down with the truth spelled out here in scripture.
And while I'm not saying we bash anyone over the head with scripture, we don't stand on corners and scream out you're going to hell, how loving is it for us to do exactly what the enemy wants? We just sit back and say nothing, fail to warn the people who are about to go over the cliff? Because I don't want the negative response, don't want to be called intolerant, don't want to be labeled a bigot, don't want to deal with backlash?
We have to find a way, in love, to speak the truth. We have to be willing to carry the message, the whole message to those that need to hear it and stop listening to the propaganda that the enemy is firing in our direction. After all, the only way those of us who are Christians escaped these same entrapments began with someone else stepping out and being willing to tell us.