Friday, March 02, 2007

AT: Unusual Weapons

On her CBS talk show, Tyra Banks lined up that day’s guests so they could answer any final questions from the audience. Seated on the stage were three “good witches,” two “dark witches,” two Satanists (including the grandson of the founder of the Church of Satan) and one Christian.

The lone voice for Jesus was Sarah Anne Sumpolec, a novelist who has written the Becoming Beka Series for teens. During her appearance on The Tyra Banks Show, she told of how the Lord brought her out of witchcraft and into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Not unexpectedly, Sarah afterward found herself inundated with emails from witches, Wiccans and others in the pagan religions. In something of a cyberspace blitzkrieg, Sarah was derided, ridiculed, cursed and threatened.

While I was challenged by Sarah’s courageous witness--could I have done the same?--I was reminded of a hard truth: It can be nasty out there.

When I first started writing novels, I thought only of the thing itself--the story, the words, the art form. The thought of awards never crossed my mind and, on the flip side, neither did criticism or attack. I just wanted to create something beautiful and offer it to the world as a gift.
Well, guess what? That might have worked in the Garden, but it’s not going to work in the war zone we know as the world. Like it or not, there’s a spiritual battle going on, and if we as Christian writers are speaking out for truth, then we’re on the front lines. Your fellow soldiers might slap you on the back and tell you you’re doing a good job, but even while your friends are shaking your hand, your enemies are out there firing up the missiles and taking aim.

You have to be ready for that. Just ask Sarah.

Jesus knew it would be this way for his followers, and so he equipped his disciples with a couple of unusual weapons. When you’re attacked by your enemies, he said, you’ve got to fight back with love and prayer.

That’s what he said, and it shows up three times in the gospels. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you (Luke 6:27-28, Luke 6: 35, Matthew 5:44).

It’s not easy, I know. After teaching at a writers conference about the dangers of New Age and postmodern thinking, I found myself blasted on various sites on the Net (though not nearly to the extent Sarah was). My first thought was, “How dare they!” But after the sting subsided, I could understand that their ridiculing me was simply the common human response to a world view completely contrary to one’s own. In speaking out against relativism, I had to expect to take some flak from the relativists. I also had to decide not to take it personally.

When we’re lambasted, when we bear the brunt of people’s rebellion, I think it’s important to remember that it actually has little or nothing to do with us. What people are really lashing out against is God. What they are really rejecting is his gift of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. In this lies the tragedy: The loss, ultimately, is theirs. And that should break our hearts.
The thing is, non-Christians aren’t the enemy. Satan is the enemy. You and I are speaking the gospel not to defeat people but to defeat Satan by winning people to Christ. Those men and women who revile you today just might be your brothers and sisters in the Lord tomorrow--if you love them; if you pray for them.

They’re pecular weapons--love and prayer--but you’ll want to learn how to use them as you move forward with your writing. If you’re going to be on the front lines, it’s best to be ready for battle.

Ann Tatlock


At 8:13 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

This week on the ACFW loop, we've been talking in a similar thread, about nonChristians and how they handle Christians' worldview. Thanks for a great post. Very insightful.

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Ernie W. said...

Well said. You are so right.

At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Nicole said...

I've found that nothing in Christianity is taken less seriously by most Christians than spiritual warfare and yet the evidence of the fight and victories by the enemy are everywhere in and out of the church. "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world."

How else will the apostate church appear other than by Christians never picking up their weapons or forgetting (if they ever knew) how to use them?

At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the warning!
Love and prayer, love and prayer....
Well said.

At 12:53 AM, Blogger SolShine7 said...

Thanks for the reminder.


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