Summary: Troublesome times are surrounding each one of us right now. There are two main issues that have a grip on us as we reach the mid-way point of the month of January: Pandemic and Politics. Both issues have divided us.
January 17, 2021 – David Simpson
Lanier Christian Church
Have We Met the Enemy?
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Troublesome times are surrounding each one of us right now. There are two main issues that have a grip on us as we reach the mid-way point of the month of January: Pandemic and Politics. Both issues have divided us. There are strong feelings about the virus and there are strong feelings about our political divide. Sadly, neither of these matters have unified us.
What is happening right now is a divide in our land like I’ve never seen before. It is best described in Walt Kelly’s famous cartoon strip, Pogo. In the cartoon panel, Porkypine and Pogo take a journey into the forest and as they approach the wetlands, they begin to step on cans and bottles and debris of every kind recklessly thrown into the water and woods. Porkypine has a hard time walking on all the trash and says, “It is hard walkin’ on this stuff.” Then Pogo responds, “Yep, son, we have met the enemy and he is us.”
I think that pretty much describes our situation right now with these two divisive issues. The enemy is us. We SHOULD be united as Americans, even if our political views are different. We live in the greatest country on earth with more opportunities and freedoms than can be found anywhere else on the globe. The blessings around us as a nation should unite us. However, there are voices around us seeking to tear us apart rather than pull us together.
We SHOULD be united against this pandemic. This virus is a true enemy. In fact, it took the life of a dear minister friend last week, Phil Kouns, who led our Thursday Bible Study group on a tour of Christian City a few years ago. Most recently minister of Stockbridge Christian Church. He was one of the good guys, a loyal servant of the kingdom. A man of prayer and devotion to Jesus. The virus shows no favoritism. As of today, 11,000 have lost their lives here in Georgia due to the virus. So, thank you for wearing a mask. Next to prayer, it’s the least we can do to slow this virus. Yet, there are voices around us that are dividing us over this virus, too. We can’t even unite against a common enemy that doesn’t care what color you are, what language you speak, what politics you support, or what age you are. This should not be.
It seems at times like the enemy really is us…each other.
So, what should we do? As Christians gathered here on this January Sunday, what should we do in light of all of these challenges that surround us?
I have some suggestions: First, take some time and evaluate yourself.
And to do this, you and I need to spend some time in prayer and repentance. I dare say that all of us in this room today can improve in some area that would move us away from divisive behavior and more toward Christ. And I think one area we should all focus on is humility. We each should show some humility and consider others above yourself. Philippians 2:3-4 says:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Selfish ambition and vain conceit are enemies of unity and harmony. Paul is contrasting the greedy behavior of self against the virtue of humility that places others needs before your own. First century stoic philosophers around at the time of the New Testament saw humility as a weakness. However, in New Testament teaching, humility is always seen as positive. Here Paul uses it to refer to a sacrificial willingness to give up one’s rights and work for the good of others. The supreme example of this was Jesus, who “humbled himself” in obedience to God and suffered death by crucifixion. (these 2 sentences: Zondervan Illus Commentary)
Humility has taken a back seat in our culture. Just look at words that are part of our lingo now: selfie, Myspace, meTV, (one of my favorite channels because it carries The Andy Griffith show), etc. Ask yourself a question this very moment. What did you reach for first today? Your Bible or your phone? What was your first intentional act today? Prayer or Facebook? Social media has played a big part in where we are today in our cultural divide. Our smartphones will now tell us how much time we spend on our phones and various apps. Most of us don’t look at that because we don’t want to know.