The Posing Parallel Wolf Church

Why love our enemies? Seriously. What. Is. the. Point?

Jesus was here with us. He could see how badly we managed to love even those closest to us, even those we invite into our lives, our homes, our beds. Truly, we stank at love long before the J. Geils Band set it to music and made us dance to our own pathetic failing.

We struggle to love long-term the very objects of our devotion so why, of all impossible things, command us to love our enemies?

Perhaps because He knew how confusing things would get down here.

Jesus was preaching to His followers when He gave the command to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute you. His followers. His children. His church.

Even though, at the time, many thought it would be comprised of only Jews, Jesus knew His church would include people from every tribe, every tongue, and every nation on earth. So when He was referring to our enemies and persecutors, He foresaw a time when it wouldn’t be easy to determine who that enemy is.

I heard a vet talk about the confusion of battle once. He spoke in deep, textured tones about the chaos of combat in the dark in the jungle with gunshots and grenades blaring every which way. Smoke and dirt and sweat streaming into your eyes. A soldier gets turned round and the foliage or the clouds hide the moon and stars. Your ears tune into your own breathing, your own heartbeat but your brain doesn’t process incoming information with the efficiency you need as fast as you need it. It’s simple as trigger click to confuse comrades for combatants. Easy to shoot a friend and not even realize until morning that the hand on your shoulder wasn’t an attack but an attempted rescue.

I nodded because I know about this. Not the grenades. Not the Glocks. But the mess of battle when friends fall in the line of fire from my own drawn weapon. I’ve experienced this in the family of God

and it’s getting worse.

That’s one of the creepiest aspects, for me, of the times in which we live. The fact of this parallel church, this counterfeit, this collection of Christian look-alikes, sound-alikes, posers who pull off the greatest identity theft of all times in order to confuse even the brethren, if that was possible.

You know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about “those” Christians. The ones who don’t even seem to be reading the same Bible I read or who don’t read the Bible at all. They appear in interviews on the History channel as Biblical scholars or experts on my faith and proceed to deconstruct its basic tenets and tell everyone it’s still there. The rabbit out of the hat, wink-wink-nod-nod at the world, let’s not be fanatics about doctrine, no one can really know the original Greek on that verse people who identify by my family name but would turn me away if I showed up at their church doorstep on a cold night because of my archaic views.

These are dangerous times.

There are six hundred sixty-six times as many molecules of deception as oxygen molecules in the air (maybe more) clouding our vision and our frontal lobes. It would be a fool’s pursuit for me to start deciding who’s a “real” believer and who has wrapped his or her wolf-soul in sheepskin. I might mistake the rescuing hand of a friend for the attack of a foe and take out a sister or brother.

God knew how things would get down here. He issued us swords and shields, not winnowing forks and threshers. (Farm tools for sorting things out.) And just to be clear about how to conduct ourselves, He told us to love every heart that beats. Every. One. Friend and Foe. Family and Enemy.

Simplifies it for us.

In this battle, when we reach into our ammo pack, we curl our fingers around love. Love for the poser. Love for the liberal brother. Love for the fundamentalist sister. Love for the one pretending to be family who isn’t.

We definitely continue to speak the truth. We stand for what the Bible teaches even when others say it doesn’t. We hold our spiritual ground and advance the kingdom praying, teaching, making disciples, and speaking light into darkness.

But we don’t hate. We don’t condemn. We don’t accuse. We don’t sort wheat from tares. We love – with words, with deeds, with truth, with a supernatural infilling of the Holy Spirit enabling restraint when we’d prefer to fire against the darkness with real bullets.

The parallel church, the fake church, the wolf church, the false teaching – it scares me, too. But love casts out fear and advances the kingdom. If the enemy takes me out, I’ll go down loving and knowing the truth, in the name of Jesus Christ.

I choose love and the revolution of truth. How about you?

I’ve added a new talk to my workshops that I’m very excited about called Jesus and the Beanstalk (Our Faith is No Fairy Tale) about how to be effective and fruitful in our faith. Are you ready to topple giants? Contact me to speak with your group.

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    The Conversation

  1. What a thought-provoking post, Lori. You always challenge me. My heart breaks to watch the church class certain sins as unforgivable. Down through the ages, we’ve drifted from one sin to the other, choosing which one to condemn. Hate is so ugly. No wonder people reject Jesus.

  2. Sherdeloach says:

    Great blog, Lori! Well written & inspiring!

  3. Lori, my degree is in Church Careers, and to see what is happening in the church today breaks my heart. Thanks for being willing to sound the alarm. We must have the courage to stand strong and love strong at the same time. God give us wisdom.

    Golden Keyes Parsons

  4. Sherdeloach says:

    Thank you Lori for another ‘awakening’ blog. Right on target. LOVE DON’t hate! Live your life to the principles & example of JESUS CHRIST!