The Lord called them something even more powerful: Lost.
Do you remember the last time you were good and lost? You aren’t sure where you messed up. You aren’t sure when you messed up. Somewhere back there you took a wrong turn, and now you have no idea where you are or how to get where you need to be. Now you’re frustrated, getting angry, maybe even a little scared. The worst thing is you’re lost before you even realize it, so you have no idea how long you’ve been lost.
Lost animals and lost children can find themselves in very dangerous situations without even realizing it. So can the Lost.
We need to stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and calm down long enough to see these people as they really are. Are they dangerous? Yes. So are drowning people and wounded animals. We need to be cautious.
But they’re also frequently hurt, confused, and angry about many of the things we’re angry about.
What really set off the “Four Horsemen” of the new atheists? 9/11. They were angry. So were we. The lost are angry about abuse in the church. So are we. They’re angry at a broken world that is so filled with pain. So are we.
They lash out because they don’t understand. They think it’s obvious that this old fashioned morality, the failure to recognize that people should be free to do whatever they want, causes all of our problems. Like children, they don’t understand that the rules are there to keep them safe.
We have to deal with these people. We have to respond to all of this. But we cannot see these people as the enemy. Our warfare is spiritual, and our enemy is the world system, the powers and principalities, and the devil. These people are the prisoners of this enemy. Do they have a little Stockholm syndrome? Yeah. That makes them more dangerous, but they’re still victims.
As we struggle for the truth in this wicked age, we need to remember the words of the old hymn:
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.1
1 “Rescue the Perishing” by Fannie Crosby
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