The Influence of Denial

When I was in the 4th grade a kid who went by the initials J.B. decided to make it his mission to harass me. So he bullied me around and picked on me, nothing too mean, just a hassle. One day it escalated into treatment that was more physical. He held me on the ground and tried to force me to say how great he was while all his buddies looked on. He was nothing to me really. But he was bigger and stronger and certainly could “beat me up,” so I said he was great. I didn’t believe it then, and I believe it less now.  Last month, two journalists from Fox News were taken captive by terrorist in Gaza and held for about two weeks. Shortly before their release, their captors forced them to convert to Islam at gunpoint. They did – but not really. They said they did it in order to stay alive. Does that count as a denial of their faith? Some call them the greatest sellouts we’ve seen in a long time. Some say what matters is what is in their hearts, not the words forced out of them at gunpoint. Maybe it was like the bully and me.

 These days I think denial happens differently. Overt denials of Christ are rare, but the influence of denial is obvious. When we proclaim the power of sin in our lives and lament our failures, we are denying the redemption purchased with the blood of Christ. When we make choices that are ungodly and self-serving, we deny the Lordship of Christ. When we offer feeble attempts at living a holy life in the strength of our own so-called convictions completely absent of the Holy Spirit, we deny the power of Christ. When we establish our identity in anything other than our relationship with God, we deny His purpose in our lives.  I can’t say that I would do any better than those journalists did. I’d love to think that I’m a real stand up guy who would die before I would convert to Islam. But the honest truth is that we don’t know how we would handle that decision until the moment we face it. I do know this, “…I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day,” (2 Timothy 1:12).  Whatever we do, whatever we say, we belong to Christ. May he help us to be upright in our souls and to be merciful to those who are struggling to be upright.

 


telemicus out

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