It happens. You’re leading a successful bible study or English class when a student poses a question that firmly places the topics of war and politics right into your lap like burning hot coals. All eyes are on you to answer the inquiry in a fashion that will not seem weak-willed and still glow with the hopeful light of diplomacy. What do you do? I have been in the situation more than twice and I can tell you that if you’re not prepared it can potentially sour the spiritual experience.
Firstly, why do people ask such questions that will undoubtedly make things uncomfortable? One reason is that they expect a person who comes in the name of the Lord to be able to meet their needs. There are hungry souls from all walks of life; the rich, the poor, the broken and seemingly whole, who genuinely want to hear about the God who does love back. Desperate, maybe they feel that the Christian believer has “all of the answers”, which is of course not true. What about the flip side of the coin? Yes, there are people who ask tough questions to deliberately trip you up. Perhaps they get a thrill from debate or, in the worst case scenario, are not interested in an answer at all, being satisfied with only seeing you lose your cool.
Regardless of the motive, I find that it helps to keep things focused on the word of God. Now, I don’t mean that by speaking the often patronizing “biblese” language, quickly spouting scripture to counter ever question someone has, but the word should be the backbone of our thoughtful communication with the curious. To the Christian, it is the inerrant voice of the Creator to mankind and therefore reveals the origins of the rampant war, greed and shady political agendas today. One thing that is very clear from the very first book of Genesis, is that all suffering in the world stems from humanity attempting to push God and His values out of our lives. Adam and Eve may have chosen to listen to seductive words rather than the Lord at a key moment, but they still respected Him. However, the same cannot be said for their descendants as a whole; each generation bringing along with it the first murderers, liars and power-hungry. Man was created in love, with the image and intellect of God, and that love was slowly dying.
It’s important for us to understand that because of sin, a curse upon the seed of Adam, God respectfully draws away from the places where He’s defiantly told “you’re not needed”. What has been birthed in the aftermath is a world populated by nations that have no other idea of the word “destiny” than to fight for the mound of soil they’re standing on. So bible students and those with questions should understand that all of us have been tainted by this. Throughout history, there is no kingdom or country that has not been built on death and corruption of some sort. Even the bible, in a consistent display of hard truth over comfortable fables, refuses to shy away from sharing Israel’s treachery. They had made promises with God to live holy lives after He saved them from slavery in Egypt, promises they broke many times, with tragic results. (Judges 2:12-13, Hosea 9:10)
This is why the sacrifice and resurrection of the Son of God is so important to emphasize. Since the word shows that all humans are related, that means we are also connected to Jesus, who loved to refer to Himself as not only the Son of God, but the Son of Man. (Mark 14: 61) His death and shed blood on the cross makes us right with God, if we believe. The bible is straight forward on this; ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Remember this the next time someone asks you about the part that your own country played in a war or atrocity. We shouldn’t respond in haste, but let the Holy Spirit remind us of our shared need as fallen humans for the redeeming love of Christ. Sure, you may win the argument, defending your nation with pride, but at what cost? Remember where you are; is your very personal victory more important than winning a soul to the Lord?
The Son, having temporarily laid aside His divine equality with the Father in order to connect with humanity, admitted that even He did not know the hour of His own return to earth (Mark 13:20-32, Philippians 2:5-8), so we shouldn’t feel bad if an answer to a difficult question eludes us at times. Ultimately, God alone knows all. However, He does promise to share wisdom with those who seek Him, and you will need that wisdom when these questions come knocking. God bless.
– Creation Museum: