James Watkins: Threat to society

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I’m on a never-ending quest to change society as we know it. But don’t worry, I’m not stockpiling weapons in some remote compound. And the only “kill fees” I have received are from publishers. But, hopefully, I’m a threat to society through my writing, editing, speaking and teaching writing at conferences and in books.

My manifesto

• Whereas the current “culture war” strategy is failing to change the world as we know it and . . .

• Whereas the current strategy is simply polarizing and solidifying opposing sides . . .

• Resolved that a new and totally radical strategy be implemented. (Okay, it’s actually a two-thousand-year-old strategy.)

1. Love your enemies

The current “culture war” strategy attempts to vilify anyone not in agreement with its position. Yet, Jesus Christ, the most radical person who ever lived, tells us to love our enemies. Two thousand years later, Martin Luther King, Jr., promised, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

St. Paul would further argue that the current strategy is targeting the wrong enemy! He writes—in a culture rife with political corruption, idolatry, violent “entertainment,” homosexual behavior and child sex abuse—?For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms? (Ephesians 6:12).

We have only one enemy: the devil himself. All the so-called “enemies” in the culture war are prisoners of war. And according to the Geneva Convention, you don?t shoot POWs. Rather, they need to be liberated from their captivity.

2. Speak the truth in love

For instance, Norma McCovey is the “Jane Roe” in the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Everyday she walked past Operation Rescue’s headquarters on the way to her job at an abortion clinic. She had learned to ignore the picket signs, the sit-ins, and the shouts of “Baby Killer!” But at this rescue office, volunteers would smile and tell her to have a good day. They told her they loved her. (See Truth and grace.)

McCovey could resist the anger and accusations. She couldn’t resist love. She became a Christian and an anti-abortion crusader. At a Senate hearing McCovey said, “I am dedicated to spending the rest of my life undoing the law that bears my name.”

3. Overcome evil with good

Rather than loudly attacking what is wrong, hundreds of organizations have quietly worked to create a positive alternative.

Instead of rioting against the cruel conditions in England during the 1700’s, John Wesley and his “Methodists” set up free clinics, opened the first employees credit union, and revolutionized the country. And did it without the bloodshed of the American and French revolutions!

Instead of calling pro-abortionists “baby killers,” pro-life supporters began setting up Crisis Pregnancy Centers which provided compassionate care for pregnant women by providing maternity clothes and baby supplies. Crisis Pregnancy Centers now outnumber abortion providers and the abortion rate is declining.

Instead of complaining about Hollywood movies, a group of believers has established Act One: Writing for Hollywood conferences to raise up Christians in the industry.

Prison Fellowship, rather than complaining about crime, has become active in justice issues. But most important, thousands of volunteers are taking the Christian message into prisons and discipling converted convicts.

And, rather than complaining about X-rated Internet sites, I’ve written extensively online about the joys and pleasures of sex by following our Creator’s sex manual.

The whole point of overcoming evil with good is to provide a postive, godly alternative to the evil (Romans 12:21).

Does it work?

While the picketers and boycotters are, as a whole, very sincere, they are sincerely missing the strategy that Jesus and Paul proposed. And the strategy worked! Within three hundred years, the Roman empire had collapsed and Christianity was declared the official religion. (Notice that this strategy is slow, but it is effective.)

Copyright © 200, 2008 James N. Watkins. All rights reserved.

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2 Responses

  • Thank you for your refreshing and on-point reminder of God’s better way to approach enemies. It’ ‘s encouraging to consider Christians who are taking the loving approach. How sad that they should be the exception. As I am also a writer I especially I appreciated your personal example of it. Do keep up the good work!

  • Irene Runcam says:

    I routinely read comments and have become desensitized to the crude language. Now I am disappointed that there is only one comment here and I too agree it is a great follow up to today’s sermon



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