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Inspiration for Today’s Devotional: “Bats!”
Fluttershy found herself in a bad situation in this episode. Even though she knew that it would be a better idea to relocate the vampire fruit bats off of Applejack’s farm, and using her power to force animals to go against their own nature was something against her own principles, she found herself proverbially “shouted down” by Applejack’s own rhetoric that the bats were a natural menace and a pest that simply needed to be eliminated. After swaying the rest of the Mane Six to her side and getting them to join in on the pressuring, eventually she caved in and did something not only against her principles but she knew wasn’t right. And as a result, disaster ensued. Not only did the crop still end up ruined, but the girls went through a great deal of headaches they could have avoided.
One of the more infamous lines from the Gospels not spoken by Jesus was in the first part of John 18:38.”Pilate said to Him(Jesus): ‘What is truth?'” As the scripture doesn’t indicate Pilate waited for a response, it was likely the question wasn’t serious but a sardonic reply to Jesus’ testimony to him about truth. But it serves as a good reflection of governments and leaders both then and to this day, who ask, either genuinely seeking an answer or mocking those who do, “What is truth?”. And aside from them, it’s what a great deal of people ask themselves and deal with on a daily basis.
As I have stated in an earlier devotional, no one sees the world as it is; they see it as they are. The world is only as correct or warped as our own visions are, which is why it is important to straighten oneself out and constantly try to be free of bias, prejudgment, and ulterior motives. It’s the only way to truly see truth; otherwise it becomes, as the old adage says, “in the eye of the beholder”.
It’s a well-known fact that many, if not most, people who profess to be Christian in the United States live so similar to secular people that they’re effectively the same. And in recent years there is a constant push to make Christianity be something “kept entirely in the closet”; something that is to be expressed only in the privacy of one’s home and not to factor into anyone’s decisions or behaviors, especially in the public arena. This has become especially true as American society is moving beyond excluding behavior and gestures that are derogatory and racist and toward excluding anything that makes anyone upset for any reason.
Yet probably a far worse cause of the degeneration and one that is far worse than any censorship is the growing trend to make everything in the country completely polarized and, ironically, ethical. Every decision is a moral choice. Every decision is life or death. There is no room for meeting in between or seeking better solutions; there is only the choice that brings prosperity and freedom to all and the choice that brings ruin and death to everyone. Worse yet, which choice one makes always reflects on them personally. You can’t choose that way or you want to burn down the USA and erect a Communist state. You can’t choose the other way or you want every non-white to be herded into a death camp and slaughtered.
This is extremely dangerous, because when you choose everything one way or another, when you are forced and coerced into thinking there is only one right choice or, even more importantly, one choice that’s definitely wrong…it’s not long before truth does indeed become in the eye of the beholder and one finds themselves daily violating their own principles. Even if they’re Christian.
No clearer example is there than American politics. Has anyone noticed nowadays how few candidates actually run on their own name or ideas anymore? Rather, they all run on how their opponent will “destroy everything” if you let them win. I dare say a voter knows more about the platform of the candidate they vote against based on all the attacks on them nowadays. Congressional disapproval remains incredibly high as a result, and Presidential approval is usually fairly low as well. On more than one occasion my family declared their hatred for the party they support and disappointment with them. And yet, every election, they vote solidly for them and get angry at any family member who doesn’t want to, saying things like “you want the country destroyed, don’t you?”.
Everyone needs to realize the danger of voting for someone because you’re “voting against the opponent”. At some point, it no longer matters what the candidate you vote for is going to do. It doesn’t matter if they’re in favor of Christian values or any ethical values, because their own stance is irrelevant; so long as you view their opponent is worse. Frankly, in this election, both Democrats and Republicans have been split for the Presidential candidate nomination, but you better believe they will solidly get behind whoever wins no matter how much they hate them now, because they believe the alternative is worse.
In Romans 12:21, the Apostle Paul urged: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” This includes letting ourselves be swayed and manipulated by external forces trying to use our fears and emotions against us. Also remember that doing the right thing doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be praised, admired, or even tolerated for doing it. In the New Testament, in fact, doing the right thing usually meant getting most people to hate you and threaten with violence, imprisonment, and even death. Bringing the Kingdom of God often meant not causing peace or contentment or agreement but causing upheavals, discontent, and outright rioting. While I’m not saying we should be promoting violent revolution or chaos, I’m saying that we shouldn’t expect to always be in a “comfortable place” if doing the right thing, and we need to be ready for that and not cave in to pressure when that happens; but rather cling to the Word of God and its principles. Even if it’s a cause of fear and anxiety for ourselves or for society at large.
As Mark Twain once said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you that you freely give truth and wisdom to all who seek it with a clean and pure heart. Whenever I am being pressured to make a choice or decide something with moral consequences, help me to be ‘Christ-like’ and let your Word guide my decisions; not any fear or bias from within myself. Help me to always be truthful in all of my dealing with others and with you. Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”