The Relief of Giving In

I am a bookworm. I have gone through many phases of favorite kinds of books. Historical fiction. Christian Romance. Mystery. Spy thrillers. World War 2. John Grisham. American frontier stories. Books about different people groups. And, probably one of my favorites, Post-Apocalypitical. 

I was thinking about this genre lately. I also enjoy post-apocalypitcal movies, but I find that I have a hard time getting through them nowadays as they mess with my emotions too much. I start the movie and get about ten minutes in and then turn it off. Nope. Can’t do it. Even though it looks wonderfully interesting. But, what I was thinking about recently was the theme of the Traitor. Every book always ends up with the Masses who are all doing one thing, and then a small group that is fighting to do something different. The Masses are always the “bad guy” and the small group are always the “heroes”. And there is almost always one person in the small group who turns traitor and joins the masses, betraying the small group in some extravagant way. 

What hit me was that when that person turned traitor there was a sense of relief and peace. A relaxing. Ah yes. I have finally stopped fighting and just accepted what the masses want me to accept. It’s so peaceful. No more fighting. No more striving. I can just live a “normal” life like everyone else in this mass of humanity. I won’t stick out. I won’t draw any attention to myself. I will be liked and accepted. Wheww. That feels so good. No more hardship. No more sacrifice. It’s the normal life for me. 

And of course, as the reader or viewer, we are appalled. How could you! You traitor! Can’t you see the masses are on a road to self-destruction?? Can’t you see the rigthness of the small group’s cause??? How could you??

And really, that’s not very fair on our part. Being in the small minority is never easy. It’s a struggle. It’s a constant battle of self-doubt. Am I really in the right? All these masses seem to think otherwise? You believe in your cause, but you don’t have much support for that cause, if any. It’s very much a solo struggle. 

Of course, all the books and movies (dare I say history as well?) prove to us that the fight is worth it. In the end, it doesn’t matter how many people agree with the masses, if it’s wrong, it’s wrong. And you have to stand up for right, no matter how difficult. And, at least in the stories, right always prevails in the end. 

I think about times that I have turned traitor to my own convictions. The time I was really convicted that my kids needed less screen time and more books and imaginary play. But they were driving me crazy, and I just wanted some peace and quiet. So I turned the tv on. And it felt peaceful at first. Ah. Relief. Except later, I had kids even more addicted to screens and learning balance and self control in this area became even harder. 

There are times when I am trying to heal my body of the effects of too much sugar, fat, calories. And I determine that I will only eat certain foods that are going to help me be stronger. But someone offers me a dessert. And I could be awkward and say no thank you, and be the only one not eating it or I can just, sure, why not, just this once? Ah the relief of eating that wonderful dessert. Except later, I find I have taken ten steps backwards in achieving my health goals and it’s even harder to move forward again than it was before. 

I feel very strongly that in the days to come we are going to be more and more in a situation where you are called to go along with the masses, against your moral convictions and beliefs, and the group of people who are fighting for right is going to get smaller and smaller. Our culture is pushing more and more for Full Acceptance of the status quo or face harsher and harsher consequences. This is the time to fully examine what you believe and what you stand for. Own your beliefs. Don’t believe things because it’s what your family or culture believes. Don’t believe things because it’s what mainstream media teaches you. Don’t believe things because it’s what your favorite political party is preaching. Do your research. Do your due diligence. If we can learn anything from books/movies/history it’s that being in the majority does not automatically make you right. There is a great relief in being in the majority. But in the end, that relief leads to death. Not life. Know what you believe and then be ready to stand firm in that belief. 

My Unpopular Opinions

I had a dream last night that I was in heaven. It was a really strange dream. I was exploring, and I was aware that I was dreaming. And I kept hoping that I wouldn’t wake up, because I wanted to see more. It was peaceful. I remember, in the dream, taking note of how I felt, Hmm, I don’t feel creeped out like I usually do in dreams, this feels peaceful, it really must be heaven. But, there wasn’t very much that was “heavenly”. It was like being in a regular city. The buildings weren’t amazing, just regular city buildings. I went inside one building and it just looked like a regular building. Nothing amazing. I talked to people and there was nothing that stood out about them. Just regular people. The only two things that were different was I had a “new” body that I barely paid any attention to, and I was handed some amazing french baguette bread, and told I could eat it without worrying about gaining weight. (Yay!) And then I woke up, thinking, huh, that was a weird dream. And I’ve been thinking about it and I quickly realized what was wrong. Jesus wasn’t there. I think in the dream, I was subconsciously looking for him the whole time. And there was no sign of him, except for the peaceful feeling. And a pleasant city with pleasant people, but no Jesus? That’s just not heaven. 

 

All the biblical descriptions of heaven make it very clear that God is the center of heaven. God on his throne, angels worshipping him. 

 

Revelation 21:23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

 

I would think that if the glory of God is the light source of heaven, you are definitely going to be very aware of his presence when you are there. In fact, if I were to give a definition of heaven, I would say, it’s being in the presence of God. 

 

And for some reason, my mind is drifting to our country and politics and the current mess that we are in as we approach an election in the Fall. 

 

I have found it pretty amazing that I have had Christian friends express the sentiment that to vote for Trump is “unchristian” and at the exact same time I have had other Christian friends tell me that to vote for Biden is “unchristian”. 

 

Can I ask a favor? Could we stop doing that? God is not setting up his kingdom solely in the United States of America. His kingdom happens to be in every single country on this earth. His kingdom does not rely on which party is in office. His kingdom does not depend on whether our country is socialist or capitalist. His kingdom does not depend on us being a republic or a democracy. There is no government that can stop the spreading of God’s kingdom. 

 

In my dream, the “heaven” I was in was nice, peaceful. Pleasant enough people, the surroundings were ok. But it wasn’t Heaven. Jesus wasn’t there. It was just a nice place. Kind of like our country. Nice place. Not heaven. 

 

For some reason, right now, Christians on both sides of the political spectrum seem to be taking a stance that if their candidate wins, we will be able to have a country where the Kingdom of God can be advanced. But, if the other side wins, the future of Christianity is in grave peril. 

I would like to put forth the idea that God is sovereign. He can and will advance his kingdom no matter who is in office. And while our country is a nice place, filled with nice people, it’s not heaven. It’s not the headquarters for God’s kingdom. God’s throne is not in Washington D.C. (thank God!). Believe it or not, this upcoming election is not going to be a deciding factor on whether God’s kingdom advances. 

 

Now, I know that by now, everyone is mad at me. I’m sorry. I understand that your political stance is very important to you. And I understand that you are very worried about the upcoming election. Thinking about our country being led by a political leader you don’t respect and don’t agree with is alarming. And right now, our political beliefs are so strong that we seem to have overset our tendencies to be polite and respectful to other people. 

 

We need to understand something though. There are born-again, on fire, devoted believers on both sides of the political spectrum. And when we start tossing around the term “unchristian” concerning our political beliefs, we are causing a LOT of division in the body of Christ. And we are living in a state of fear that is unnecessary. God is on his throne, his kingdom is not in danger. Yes, your Christian beliefs have shaped how you feel you should vote. But please understand, this is true for both sides!!

 

So, yes, have your political beliefs. Campaign for your favorite candidate. But keep in mind, this is an earthly kingdom we are talking about. Somehow, our country is going to have to gain some unity. And a good first step is to stop throwing around the term “unchristian”.