CAMPBELLTON, New Brunswick, May 19, 2023 – Someone sent me a video yesterday featuring a group of teen-agers burning Bibles. The person was outraged and assumed I would be, too. I can’t say I was happy to see the video, but I wasn’t outraged. I was deeply sad for the kids doing the burning and advised the person who sent me the video to pray for them, not be angry with them.
As Christians – and especially as born-again believers with God’s Holy Spirit with us 24/7 – we can’t respond to provocations the way the world does. Jesus tells us not to be offended in ANYTHING, and that includes Bible-burnings. The devil does these things (with God’s permission, by the way) to provoke us to hate rather than love, to curse rather than bless, and to dismiss certain people as being unworthy of our prayers rather than pray for them. The reason Jesus taught us to love our enemies specifically through prayers and blessings is that he knew we would be tempted to hate them and therefore not to pray for them and not to bless them.
And it is a temptation, the burning of a Bible. It’s a test to see whether you respond with love or with hate to the ones doing the burning. The devil’s betting that you’ll respond with hate, and God’s doing everything he can to get you to respond with love, including sending me to remind you how to react to the devil’s provocations.
It’s the devil’s job to provoke us, and he does it very well. Our job is to see the provocations as tests and temptations and to respond as Jesus taught us to respond, not as the world or our emotions goad us to respond.
I said a prayer for those kids yesterday, and I’m saying another one for them again today. I invite you to pray for them, too. They clearly need prayers.
If we don’t pray for them, who will?
I was blessed to have a grandmother who prayed for me for 36 years until I was finally freed from the devil’s bondage. I like to think that other people also prayed for me throughout the years, people I knew and maybe a few strangers, too, righteous people who saw in me a need for prayer and simply filled it. We need to remember that praying, not protesting and not outrage, is the most powerful force in the universe, and scripture says that the prayers of a righteous man availeth much. If we’re born-again, we’re righteous by default through the presence of God’s Holy Spirit with us. So it’s our job to pray, as much as it’s the devil’s job to tempt.
As you watch this video, please focus on the kids, not the Bibles. The Bibles can be replaced; the souls of the kids can’t. Even if all the Bibles in the world were burned, God’s Word would remain because it doesn’t live in a book; it lives in the hearts and minds of believers.
Please pray for these kids. And while you’re at it, maybe think about getting another Bible to have on hand for someone who may need it some day.