The following is an article I wrote for the “Editor’s Corner” section of the January 2017 issue of the Scroll. It is titled “Where is the Real Battle?”
Editor’s Corner – Where is the Real Battle?
2 Corinthian 10:5 reads, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
As a person who tends to overthink and over analyze, I can easily say that most of my battles take place in my mind. If I allow my thoughts to go unchecked, they can veer in strange directions. In some ways, it seems like my mind analyzes the worst case scenario so I can be prepared for the worst. The problem is that these apocalyptic, end-of-the-world scenarios never happen. Yet I have wasted energy and have had mental and physical reactions to the doom-and-gloom scenarios.
Now part of my process of casting down imaginations/thoughts is to challenge them. And a huge part of that is learning to communicate and ask questions. The clarity and understanding eliminates the need to go in circles in my mind with wondering. Otherwise, I am reacting out of misinformation, fear, and doubt.
I believe that part of knowing where the real battle is involves knowing who the real enemy is. Who exactly are we fighting? My conclusion is that many people, including people in the Church, are battling the wrong enemy. There is a spirit of fear that is so evident in our world. There are two areas that the manifestation of this fear stand out to me.
One is the fear that people seem to have of black and brown people, especially black and brown men. I see the manifestation clearly in the shootings of unarmed black and brown people by police. And it stands out because armed assailants who are white seem to end up living. So the full circle is that it breeds fear and mistrust against the police in people in black and brown bodies. There was a period when I refused to even make eye contact with people in uniform, even when it seemed like they were making an effort to engage with me.
The other example is the results of the U.S. election as well as the UK Brexit votes. I see a correlation in these results with the rise of the far right and nationalism worldwide. Part of the appeal the far right has had globally over the last years is that it created an enemy for people who felt marginalized and left out. The message: The reason you are struggling is because of “these people.” The messaging reminds me of pre-World War II Germany. So we see results that are based on the fear that has taken hold in the hearts of people: The fear of other.
Yet we have a real battle and a real enemy. Unfortunately, most of our energy is being spent fighting communities that are already marginalized and oppressed. Communities we should be ministering to and offering the loving hand of God.
If you are going to battle, look at the fight plan. If you are going to engage an enemy, be sure you are fighting the right soldier.