My freshman year in high school I was bullied by another guy, and I didn’t know how to deal with it. He would sarcastically make comments about me in mock praise, and at the time, I remember feeling so frustrated. I knew his words were insincere, but I couldn’t confront him directly or call him out on his attacks. I finally figured out that if I “praised” him with equal sarcasm, he would eventually stop.
I feel that same frustration with what has now become an obvious attack against the things I believe. The words are smooth and nice, filled with empty platitudes that everyone should support, but the results and trends are destroying freedom, not just in America, but throughout the world. Sadly, Hitler’s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, was correct when he said that people will believe a lie if repeated often enough. I wonder how many people take the time to look at the facts, both what is known and unknown, and examine what people have to gain from their position. How many others examine the walk of policy-makers and journalists to see how it matches their talk and then consider the likely results?
War is evil, but sometimes it is necessary to stop a greater evil. Every life is valuable, yet there are some things worth dying for. In other words: some things are more important than life. On this Memorial Day in the United States, we remember those who gave their lives so that we may live in freedom. Sadly, out of fear and complacent convenience we are incrementally relinquishing freedom. I want to fight for it like the heroes of the past, but I feel like that high school freshman again, confronted with pleasant-sounding lies that have become internalized by so many innocent people in our society.
I am further saddened by the recent news of Ravi Zacharias, a man gifted with the ability to wage this war with words yet who has now completed his race and joined Christ in His heavenly kingdom. Ravi had a way of respectfully disagreeing with the lies he encountered, treating the questioner with respectful consideration. He would often respond to inquiries and challenges with powerful questions, seeking to understand his questioner so he could better understand their question, and his gentle technique would often help others to find truth.
Jesus also used questions as He set people free from the lies they had come to believe, and He complemented this with stories to illustrate the truth, making it relevant to their lives and causing them to ponder. I on the other hand want to be direct, and I appreciate directness from others. Unfortunately, that is not very effective in helping people break away from the lies that have captured their minds and ensnared their souls. Being direct works for maybe 5% of us, and then only part of the time.
So with one less Ravi in the world, who is willing to take up the sword of truth and wield it with precision, attacking the lies and not the person? In a society that is more concerned with pushing forward an agenda than with truth and love, I wonder. People are vilified and mocked for having a different opinion on social media, and they are silenced in the workplace by HR policies that reflect conventional wisdom, regardless of how foolish conventional wisdom has become. Who is bold enough to say, “The emperor has no clothes!” yet considerate in how they say it so as to not embarrass the emperor?