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The “Christian family” is a lie. Unlike criminal organizations such as the mafia, televangelists, and the Rothschild banking monopoly, Jesus didn’t choose relatives as his fellow labourers. He chose strangers whose sole qualifications were that they willingly chose to do God’s will, and were willing to follow him as the Messiah.
As born-agains, our real family is no longer the people we grew up with; our real family is those who do God’s will. That doesn’t mean that we should shun our relatives if they’re not born again; it just means we shouldn’t spend any more or any less time with them than we would with anyone else who doesn’t do God’s will. As born-agains, we are no longer bound by blood or culture. These are not the ties that bind us. We are bound to God spiritually as his adoptive children and to Jesus as sibling, follower, and friend. These are the primary relationships that define us, not our blood or culture.
Jesus was not a fan of family gatherings. In fact, other than for a few quick stopovers in Nazareth, he generally avoided his relatives after he started his ministry work. We need to stare that fact straight in the face. Jesus didn’t get along with his family after he “came out” as the Messiah. His mother thought he was crazy, and his brother James thought he was just playing at being a prophet. Jesus said our worst enemies will be those under our own roof, and his disbelieving family proved him right. Only after his crucifixion did his mother and brother come round and acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah.
The truth about Jesus’ rocky relationship with his relatives is rarely spoken about in polite Christian circles. Ministers like to wax poetic over the ‘holy family’ and urge their parishioners to mold their families after the supposed Christian model of a strong father, a supportive mother, and polite obedient children. But this model is not based on the New Testament. Jesus said that he came to drive a sword between blood relatives and their in-laws, and to turn family members against each other. He didn’t come to draw people closer to each other; he came to draw people closer to God. He also said that if you want to please your relatives more than you want to do God’s will, then you’re not worthy of being his follower and ultimately not worthy of Heaven.
At the same time, Jesus warned us not to marry. Paul reiterated the warning, saying that spouses are usually more interested in pleasing each other than in pleasing God. They also tend to lean on each other rather than to lean on God. That’s why Jesus urged his followers not to marry, and if they were married, to leave their spouse to follow him. All his married disciples left their wives. They didn’t divorce them; they simply lived separately from them and no longer had intimate relations with them.
This is another major fact that is rarely mentioned in polite Christian circles, especially by joined-at-the-hip televangelist husband and wife duos. Jesus and his followers lived celibate, making “eunuchs” of themselves for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake.
We are expected to do the same.
That’s right, folks – no nooky. We’re to live celibate not like Catholic priests but celibate like Jesus.
Genuine celibacy comes not from our own efforts, but from God. It’s a spiritual gift that God readily gives anyone who asks for it.
The notion of a strong patriarch and a supportive matriarch surrounded by a gaggle of offspring is Old Testament. As born-agains, we follow the example that Jesus set in the New Testament by living celibate and seeing our real family as those who choose to do God’s will.
Acts of terror, regardless of who perpetrates them, all have the same final outcome: the reduction of freedom. This means less freedom of movement, less freedom of association, less freedom of speech, less freedom of the press, and so on. The initial gut-level response to terror is almost always fear and the desire for revenge, but the long-term fall-out is always – ALWAYS – less freedom. Think of how the Patriot Act has stripped Americans and their allies of freedom since 9/11. From this, we can assume that all acts of terror have as their ultimate aim the reduction and curtailment of freedom.
Likewise, from this, we can assume that whoever is ultimately behind all acts of terror is someone who wants to take away our freedom and thereby control us.
God gave every one of us free will and has never asked for it back. Paul said that all things are possible, but not all things are good. That’s why God engraved his laws on our hearts and set the Ten Commandments in stone, so that we would always be able to discern the good within the possible, regardless of how beguiling the temptation was to do bad. But God still permits us to do bad, if that’s what we choose to do. He does not intervene in our freedom either to do good or to do bad, but he does try his hardest to persuade us to choose the good.
That is free will.
Given this reality, it must therefore be someone who is opposed to God who is behind terrorist acts. Anyone who wants to forcefully remove or curtail the freedom of others is not mirroring God’s way and is not acting as God’s ally. In other words, they do not respect our God-given free will. We know, from Jesus, that the world is under Satan. So whoever is working behind the scenes to perpetrate terrorist acts with the ultimate aim of controlling the population is working for Satan, as are all those who willingly agree to have their freedoms curtailed in direct response to terrorism.
The New Testament mentions “the synagogue of Satan” a few times. This is in reference to “Jews who call themselves Jews but are in fact not”. Muslims call the United States “the great Satan”. These references to Satan point to power strongholds in the world at any given time. The truth is that all people, regardless of where they live or what religion they espouse, are under Satan unless they are born-again followers of Jesus. Born-agains are in God’s kingdom on Earth and have pledged their allegiance to God. Those who have not done so are defacto worshippers of Satan and thus automatically fall under Satan’s jurisdiction.
So what does this mean for acts of terrorism like the one unleashed on Paris on Friday the thirteenth of November, 2015? It means that Satan is behind these acts, regardless of who gets the finger pointed at them. It means more freedom will be forcefully removed and also willingly forfeited. It means that the world on Saturday the fourteenth of November, 2015, is less free than it was the day before. It also means Satan’s control of the world is expanding.
Satan goes by many names and wears many hats. His favourite disguise is The Invisible Man because he fancies himself to be like God. He and his minions slip in and out of people’s minds, beguiling them to act in ways that they know in their heart is wrong. Sadly, most people give into them.
The only way to win people back from Satan is to do as Jesus told us to do: love our enemies. We need to pray for the human perpetrators of terrorism as much as we pray for those who suffer from their acts. We need to pray, not curse them. If we find them, we need to imprison them, not torture or kill them. We need to give them time to repent of their acts, in the same way as God gives us time. We do not repay an eye for an eye, but nor do we just let them get away with their crime. Jesus says not to overcome evil with evil but to overcome evil with good. He also says that praying for our enemies is like pouring hot coals on their heads. So pour away, my friends. Pour away!
It may be, from all the prayers pouring out of us, that even one evil-doer may some day turn, just as I did and just as you did.
This is how we win people back from Satan and in so doing make the world safer and freer.