Shadow of My Enemy: Putting the Culture War in it's Proper Place
Christians will never win the culture war.
Not this year, not in ten years, not in a hundred. It’s never going to happen.
Pack it in and call it off. You’re standing on the wrong battlefield, waving the wrong banner, using the wrong weapons against the wrong enemy.
You’re not fighting your true enemy on that field; you’re only fighting his shadow.
Let me pause here to assure you that I am against intra-uterus murder, I strongly support marriage and not the abomination falsely-so-called, and love eating at Chick-Fil-A and shopping at Hobby Lobby (Ok, I don’t really love shopping at Hobby Lobby, but if I had even the smallest inclination towards the kind of pursuits supported by their merchandise then I would).
The point being, I’m declaring the “culture war” a near useless pursuit not out of a lack of conviction concerning the justness of conviction. I believe in those things. I’ve just come to the conclusion that many Christians have chosen the wrong battlefield upon which to wage their war.
To illustrate, let’s talk about boycotts. I don’t like them. Not when they’re used as economic weapons against businesses that fall out of line with proper behavior. I don’t defend or excuse the actions of businesses that endorse depravity or promote vulgarity or obscenity, but I do question the practice of threatening their livelihoods as a response.
2 Corinthians 10:4 tells us that we do not wage a war against “carnal” things, meaning things pertaining to the flesh, to this temporal, physical, realm in which we live. So, why is our go-to weapon often one meant to “hit them where it hurts” and put a dent in their bottom line? Sure, doing so might persuade Burger King to re-think their “gay pride” Whopper wrappers, but is it going to impact anyone for Christ? Does it showcase the horrible beauty of the Gospel?
When you go to war with a bag full of boycotts, who are you really going to war against?
Because we’re not at war with the liberal agenda, or the homosexual rights movement, or Planned Parenthood. Those things are not our enemies; they are the shadow our enemy casts as it parades itself through our world and through our lives. The need to justify the sin man finds within himself is what gives birth to the movements, ideologies, and social activisms that seek to replace right with wrong and truth with lies. And depraved and perverted as they may be, they’re only the shadows cast by the false ideas that dare to raise themselves against the light. We’re not at war with the visible symptoms of man’s sickness; we’re at war with false ideas, speculations, and philosophies that fuel them.
Those things can’t be fought with boycotts.
We’re called to be instruments of great change in our world, but not like that. People aren’t changed that way and the one thing we’re called to change is people. Not laws. Not business practices or advertisement campaigns. Man will only ever give up his sin when he is made to want holiness more than he wants sin. Only when he glorifies the Father will he cease from glorifying his sin.
Instead of trying to break his back, maybe we should break our bread. Meet with them, eat with them, share with them why we believe they are wrong from the position of sympathy and mercy instead of condemnation and judgment. Reveal our own brokenness and the healing given to us through Christ. Speak to them as fellow sinners who have been redeemed and renewed. Spend less time trying to convince a man to deny himself and follow our rules and a little bit more time actually denying ourselves so we can follow Christ.
Let our light shine, you might say, so they see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.
Stop striving with the wind and with the shadows. Even if you win, you’ll not gain anything.
What would it profit us to gain the world, but lose their souls?