Learned readers already know that “interesting” in the title above refers to that famous curse – “May you live in interesting times.” Of course, the most interesting times in history are usually those most difficult to live in. World War II, for example, or the Black Death of the mid-14th Century.
Lately as I watch current events, I think we are living in the midst of “interesting times”, times that are becoming a dark and difficult period of history.
So I am prompted to look at different responses to finding oneself in such times. . . . And most of the responses are wrong and therefore not helpful.
One wrong response is to trivialize it. Such can really become offensive. One reason we deplore Holocaust deniers and downplayers is that we in our hearts know it was a terrible episode involving the deaths of innocent millions. To downplay that in any fashion is offensive indeed.
Different religions and philosophies can lead to downplaying tragedies of history. Materialism and Darwinism teach that such are just part of life and even overall advancement in this material world and are neither really good or evil – one reason pure Materialists and pure Darwinists are rare.
Christians should not trivialize such tragedies but, in trying to be helpful, sometimes do by saying God is in control; God’s will and providence prevails, etc. Those truths are all indeed true. But truth can be misapplied.
Say you are at the foot of the cross. Would it be appropriate to put on a smile and tell Mary that God is in control? No, one should weep with Mary. Weep with those who weep.
And no matter how much God was in control – and He was and is – the crucifixion of Christ is arguably the worst crime in history. It should not be trivialized or bypassed in any fashion.
Further, a misapplication of the truth of God’s Sovereignty can lead to apathy. And it can lead us to “falling down to the wicked” (Prov. 25:26), to letting evil have its way. Thank God Charles Martel and his men instead fought with all they had in the face of wicked Muslim invaders who had already made North Africa a spiritual wasteland lest Europe meet the same fate. (Would modern European leaders have that much wisdom!)
And, to be blunt, there has historically been too much pious apathy among American Christians. How many do not even bother to vote! This apathy has enabled the tyranny now taking over the United States.
So, no, trivializing historic tragedy and current evil and justifying one’s own inaction by saying God is in control is not a right and Christian response. Christians should weep with those who weep and should pay more mind to their responsibilities to oppose evil. God’s providence is no excuse for our apathy and putrid laziness.
*Takes breath* I hope to address other wrong responses to evil times in future posts.