Violence, Religious Frauds – Love in the Age of Suppression

If you’re looking to the Bible for morality stories, it will quickly leave you frustrated.

Oh, it’s loaded with stories and occasionally there’s a person in that story making a right choice, but three stories later, that same person may be choosing the wrong way. In fact, in many biblical stories, everyone is wrong.

That’s because the Bible is a book of truth, not fables written to teach children to stay out of the woods.

God’s not into heroes. Our faith isn’t built on the notion that there’s a group of us capable of living properly if we just have the right role models, education, conditioning, and information. It’s not designed to promote a fear-based morality, or a moral-of-the-story based method of soul-control.

The Bible is a mirror into the human soul, designed to reveal the truth of our glorious design, the truth of our fallen nature, and the truth of God’s redemptive plan. So, it’s frustrating if you’re hoping for a “clean read.” There are myriad down-right ugly awful stories told within its pages.

Which makes it the perfect the book for our times.

We live in the age of suppression. Romans 1:18 says this: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

When people choose to live exactly the way they feel like living regardless of how that lines up with the plan of their Creator, their actions suppress the truth. When truth is suppressed, deception seeps in over the transom like a toxic gas.

One sign of living in the age of suppression is that we’re often at a loss to determine the good guys from the bad. We listen to all sides of countless arguments and in the end, no one turns out to be completely right. And even those who speak truth, are too often revealed not to be living it.

Welcome to the gospel truth of who we are, how we got here, and the only logical answer to how we find our way home.

Earlier in Romans 1, Paul writes these words, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” Romans 1:16-17.

The gospel of Jesus Christ, which is – that among humans, there is no one righteous – no, not one, and that the only way of salvation is through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross – is life for all who believe it.

The gospel doesn’t make us heroes or good guys or moral kings – it makes us recipients of grace, living by faith in Jesus, until He returns and restores all of creation to its original design.

And living by faith doesn’t mean the biblical stories aren’t historical or that there isn’t evidence of a living God or that our minds are divorced from the process. It means that our salvation doesn’t rely on right living but on the person of Jesus, and only Jesus.

Deep in the Old Testament there is an horrific story involving an angry, riotous mob, a man who supposedly represented God, a frightened city-dweller, and an adulterous, runaway concubine. There is no hero in this story, and no one is right (though the concubine pays the greatest price for everyone’s poor choices.) It begins with shame and disobedience, the middle is full of violence, and the end up is a civil war.

No good guys. No bad guys. As it says earlier in Judges 17:6 (ESV), “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

That’s simply an archaic version of “everyone must live their own truth.”

Which brings me back to the age of suppression in which we live.

Jesus continues to call His followers to love, even in times when truth is suppressed, and deception is the visible king on the iron throne. How can we be expected to rise to this calling? To love when everyone is just doing what they want is impossible.

It is. Without Jesus. Don’t try it without Him. That’s like wandering onto a battlefield without protective armor.

If we try to love with our own resources, they’ll deplete in a heartbeat. And we’ll wind up dead on the doorstep of false religion, cut up into pieces, a signal to other fools to engage in the same kind of violence as the mobs.

Instead, we must follow the way of Jesus.

Lay your life at the cross. Immerse yourself in His story. Educate yourself in biblical truth.

Through His power, empty yourself of hatred and fear. Open yourself to His Holy Spirit who will love others through you with a love that can withstand the times.

There’s nothing easy about loving in the age of suppression. But we were designed and equipped for these times.

Jesus is the only name by which anyone is saved. Believe this. Live this. Proclaim it. Declare it. Preach it always, because “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10 ESV

Stop wasting emotional resources and brain space trying to determine who is right and who is wrong. Everyone. That’s the truth.

Everyone is wrong and the only right way is Jesus.

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6 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Annie Brandt says:

    Lori.
    You simply, truthfully, clearly, honestly say what I wish I could, the way I know to be true. Thank you.
    If you’re out near the beautiful Pacific Northwest., please let me know. I’d love you to speak to anyone I could get to come to my home to hear your thoughts. You’d love it here!
    I’m constantly sending your articles on to those I love. And then I think…this was for me. For me.
    In His name,
    Annie

  2. Linda Harris says:

    That story about the concubine always makes me sad. But you’re right. God doesn’t sugarcoat the truth
    He shows us the good as an example and the bad as a cautionary tale.

  3. Bruce says:

    Lots of good stuff Lori…thank you!

  4. Sherry Carter says:

    This left me struggling and motivated all at the same time. I want to stay in my cocoon of safety until God makes things to better.

    I looked at your words “Jesus, only Jesus” and knew that was absolute truth. I also recognize that I am one who’s responsible to love without judgment and to reach out with this truth.

    Thank you for challenging me, again.

  5. Susan says:

    After every heinous murderous act, the media spins it and blames. It’s easier than admitting that the culture that they shape is spewing these monsters out at an alarming rate and something more than politics is to blame. In fact, these death-eating humans seem to be a product of a culture that is at the same time wealthier, more technologically advanced, and scientifically sophisticated while being morally lost and spiritually empty.

    The most important words from the El Paso killer’s writings are in this line:

    … My whole life I have been preparing for a future that currently doesn’t exist.

    How can a country with so much prosperity produce humans that value their blessings so little? How can young men entering a world of promise feel so cheated and see no future? Yet they do. And they’re not alone. Spend time talking to millennials and Gen Z and their perception of their own experience is astonishingly bleak. The increased number of suicides is proof of their hopelessness. Why are they so sad and frustrated?

    Maybe it’s that they have everything materially, but their lives lack meaning. Despair dead-ends into nihilism. Maybe murder is a response to nothing. At least rage is something. And rage is powerful. It must seem better than the alternative.

    How do we solve that problem? How do we help young men, especially, feel like their lives have meaning? That the supposed deep thinkers are blaming their political enemies demonstrates how pathetic our intellectual class really is. These mass murderers are multiplying, and the common thread isn’t politics. It’s powerlessness in a sea of prosperity.

    It seems we’ve brought up a generation of people who have everything and feel empty at the same time. The solutions are not easy. Maybe that’s why people blame politics. It’s easier