When the idols come down
Lately in America it’s been semi-routine to see people tearing down statues. Most of them have been linked to slavery or the confederacy during the civil war. It’s understandable as some of these Generals have been revered as hero’s. Hero’s that were on the wrong side of slavery and racism. The thing is, this practice isn’t limited to the civil war and it isn’t limited to America. Years ago statues of Kate Smith, Al Paterno, President Obama in Indonesia, Michael Jackson in the NFL Museum and Gandhi in Ghana have all been torn down for one reason or another.
Here’s how the Holy Spirit is using it in me:
First, it caused me to think about idols in my life that have been torn down. It may not disappoint me to have these statues brought down, but there have been other idols, things that I’ve been too fond of. I’ve been as patriotic as the next guy. I’ve served in the United States Navy. I support our military personnel since it’s the right, Biblical thing to protect people. I admit, I’ve seen our Nation change. Priorities and values change. I’ve seen decisions by the Supreme Court come down and laws passed and election results that frankly have really bothered me. Angered me. But the Lord has used it to show me that these things upset me way too much. He reminded me “Where your treasure is, that will your heart be also.” He also reminded me that as a Pastor my assignment from Him is to make disciples, not patriots. Sometimes, the idols that we have too tight a grip on have to be pried out of our hands. Sometimes, those idols have to fail us and die before we let go of them. Peter wrote to the Christians in the Roman empire as “strangers and aliens, pilgrims”. Not Roman citizens. This is what Jesus wants us (me) to have as our redeemed identity. It’s tough, but that’s how he’s conforming us into His image. We are not of this world. I am heavily influenced by the witness of my American friends (Pastors) who are missionaries in other countries. They are not spending a lot of their time trying to salvage that foreign country’s heritage or constitution (if they have one). They are missionaries. That has always had an effect on me and what my mission should be here in America. I’m an alien, a stranger a pilgrim. I asked the Church last night, “do you feel like you just don’t fit here any longer?” Many of them said “Amen”. That’s a good thing, that’s the work of the Holy Spirit.
Second, when I see these people tearing down these statues, I know they want to replace them other, better statues. Better people. I get it. What they don’t know is that they’ll just replace them with another fallible, fallen idol. At some point in time, someone else will be upset with the replacement. These people may feel good for a while, but my Bible tells me, experience tells me, deep inside, they’ll still be empty. It won’t satisfy them for very long, and then what?
The point is, I see a great opportunity now! Our Father in Heaven is allowing a lot of idols to come down. He’s causing so many to be disillusioned with the people and institutions that they’ve trusted in. It seems that last couple of months everything has been shaken. There are people that are disillusioned with democratic leaders. They’ve let the country down. There are people that are disillusioned with republican leaders. They’ve disappointed as well. Governors have upset people and yet, they elected them. There are people that are disillusioned with our Medical experts, the models were wrong! So now, as people are no longer trusting in their idols, we can leverage that and invite people to put their trust in Jesus. He will never let them down. I’m thinking of that old hymn “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.”