Dear Christian: Take Off Your Rose-Colored Glasses
by Stuart DiNenno
I am going to get right to the point: the purpose of this letter is to confront you about a sin that you have been committing regularly for quite a while now. It is the sin of going through life looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. It is the sin of pretending that things in the world around you are better than they are in reality. It is the sin of avoiding unpleasant truths even when they are plainly presented to you. And it is the sin of failing to search out the truth when you have the time and the opportunity to do so. You see, avoiding, rejecting, and disdaining truth are all violations of the Ninth Commandment. They are all forms of lying. Even if one is only lying to himself, he is still lying. And not only is such behavior lying, but it is habitual lying. And not only is it habitual lying, but it is habitual lying that is doing a great deal of damage to yourself. And not only is it damaging yourself but it is also damaging your family, your friends, your church, and even your nation.
I want you to know that I understand your behavior. We live in a very wicked and anti-Christian age, and are witnessing a level of depravity in our society that has not been seen in European or North American nations for many centuries. That is bound to bring consternation upon every true Christian. It is very disturbing to realize not only how far and fast we have fallen, but even more so to see before our eyes the many particular examples of abject sins — sins that could not even be publicly named a few generations ago — that are now being openly practiced, promoted, and even protected by those in authority. The depth and scope of the evil can be overwhelming, and were it not for the fact that we know God is in control of it all and has ordained it to happen for His good purpose, then we might despair of our current circumstances. But even with that knowledge in mind, there is no denying that our situation is troubling. And it is even far more troubling when one comes to gain the knowledge that this apostasy, and all the evils manifested along with it, is not something that is happening organically. That is to say, it is not just part of an unaided process of a nation falling away from God. No, the reality is far more diabolical. The reality is that what we are seeing today is all part of a deliberate plan of destruction which is very broad in scope and has been very long in the making. Such a revelation is indeed a frightening one, and it is no surprise, therefore, to find you doing what you are doing: trying to ignore distasteful realities, and shunning any investigation of such truths so as to avoid having to deal with them or even having to think about them.
Now perhaps you believe that you are evading certain disturbing facts in order to protect yourself. Maybe you tell yourself that you can only take so much bad news. You might be afraid that you are going to be overcome with grief or despair, and have no joy in your life, if you fully discover the depth of the evil in the world around you. Or it could be that you are afraid to know all the truth because you understand that you will then have a responsibility to speak out, and you know that doing so will cause problems in your life. Maybe you are behaving this way because you want to be loved but you know speaking the truth will make you hated. There is no denying that exposing evil may result in broken relationships with your friends, your family members, and your fellow church members. It may even cost you your current means of support — your job or your business. Perhaps you think to yourself: “I have already suffered enough in this world” “I am only one person with a heavy burden already and there is not much I can do.” “I cannot overcome evil. God has to do that for me.” All these things may be true but they do not excuse you from the sin of avoiding reality. You must face up to it and you must do what you can to oppose evil, no matter how weak your opposition might be because of circumstances beyond your control, or due to lack of opportunity and your own inherent limitations of ability.
Let me explain your responsibility by way of an analogy: If a deadly, contagious disease broke out in your locality and you saw with your own eyes (rather than only hearing about it through second-hand sources) that people around you were sick and dying, would you be doing right if you just ignored it? Would it profit you or anyone else if you pretended that it was not happening? Would it not be sinful if you took no precautions against the disease and did not even bother to educate yourself as to how to do so? Would you bear no guilt before God if this disease eventually took your life because of your willful ignorance? And would not that guilt be multiplied tremendously, if the disease took the lives of many of your friends and family members, along with many of your fellow church members and many of those in your nation, all because you and your fellow Christians ignored the threat for the sake of temporary comfort and peace, instead of educating yourself, trying to warn others, and taking action according to your opportunity and the best of your ability?
Of course, you know that such behavior would be foolish and wicked. But are you not doing the same when you avoid disagreeable realities for the sake of peace of mind and a less troublesome walk through life? Surely, you are doing the same and even worse. For who are worse, those who neglect their physical health to the destruction of their temporal bodies or those who neglect their spiritual health to the destruction of their eternal souls? Certainly it is the latter. But you might object: “I do not neglect Christian truths.” Perhaps not, but just as is the case with physical health, spiritual health requires not only that we understand and embrace that which is healthy, but also that we know and reject that which is harmful. We have to understand the methods and doctrines by which Satan and his disciples are deceiving and destroying multitudes of souls, if we are to protect ourselves and others from them. We need to be sure “that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan” and we can only be sure of that if “we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2 Corinthians 2:11) It is not enough to be only Bible educated. We need also to educate ourselves about the devices of Satan, so that we can use our Bible education against him. The Word of God is indeed a powerful sword but no weapon is of use, if we have no knowledge of the enemy’s tactics and where he is working. And the reality today is that most professing Christians are so ill-informed, that they cannot even identify who are Satan’s disciples, much less do anything to oppose them. Bible knowledge is of no use without application, and we cannot apply it to the degree that we ought, if we are living in a self-imposed fantasy world by avoiding the knowledge of evil, remaining willfully ignorant of the organizations and people directing it, and failing to inquire as to what are their methods and goals.
Perhaps you will still object: “It is not our duty to clean up a reprobate society. Christians are to be separate from the world, not try to make it better.” While there is a sense in which these statements are true, in that it is not our mission to morally improve unregenerate Christ-haters, the problem with this view in the context of which it is typically expressed, is that the reprobate society is the society in which we all have to live, and the anti-Christs are always about the business of trying to force us to conform to their wicked ways. We cannot hide away from the ungodly and think that they will leave us alone to practice our religion in a little compartmentalized safe space. It will never happen. On the contrary, the reprobate world is increasingly infiltrating, influencing, and even dominating what is commonly called the institutional church. Do not be fooled into thinking that this a battle of non-religious people vs. religious people. Our enemies may call themselves “secular” and claim religious neutrality but they are every bit as religious as any Christian, and they are using all their power and influence to force Christians into conforming to their humanist religion and its code of morality (which is actually immorality of the worst kind) in every sphere of life.
We cannot make an armistice with the Devil. Satan is not going to agree to a peaceful compromise with us, nor should we ever desire such a compromise. There are only two possibilities: We either have to overcome evil or we will be overcome by it. Of course if you are a true Christian, then you understand that the latter is not an option. We must fight the good fight, and no man can join the battle until he faces up to the unpleasant realities of this world, and he learns to identify the enemy and his tactics.
Of course, speaking out and refusing to compromise with apostasy will bring persecution on you in one form or another, and to varying degrees. The Bible tells us that persecution is unavoidable for a true Christian: “Yes, and all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). And do not expect the support of most professing Christians, if and when you do search out the facts and decide to take a stand. The churches have almost entirely given up the fight against the evil in our society and have chosen to retreat into an ever-shrinking religious bubble, hoping that the storm will pass them by so that they can remain in prosperity and comfort. If they do pay you any attention, it is likely to be only with opposition, as it has always been the case that those who identify themselves as Christians have been the worst enemies of those who speak the truth. Theologian Arthur Pink (1886-1952) comments:
“Now those who will “live godly”—all of them who do so, “shall suffer persecution.” They have always done so, and they always will in this world. Godly Abel was persecuted by Cain, Isaac was persecuted by Ishmael, David was persecuted by Saul, the prophets were persecuted by the apostates, Christ was persecuted by the Jews. And both Scripture and history show that persecution has always come most from nominal saints, from the professing Christian world. True, there are various degrees of persecution: From the sneer and cold shoulder, to being disfellowshipped by the church; from being dubbed “puritanical,” to being placed in the stocks. So also persecution takes different forms: As it exists in the heart, issues from the tongue, or by actions; but generally, it is done under the cloak of religion. Now, a professing Christian may escape “persecution” by merely compromising. But he will not call it that; rather, does he say, “he is avoiding extremes,” “acting prudently,” etc. But real Christians refuse to trim their sails; and therefore, they will, do, and must—suffer persecution. Reader, if you are not being persecuted in some form or other—you are not entitled to regard yourself as living a godly life.”
Tribulation is part of the Christian life. And the more that one exposes evil, and proclaims righteousness (and we cannot do one without the other), the more trouble he can expect. Here is Puritan Thomas Brooks (1608-1680) commenting that the road to heaven is not a comfortable one and that Christians should expect no better treatment than what was given to their head (Christ):
“Ah Christians, since they have crowned your head with thorns, there is no reason why you should expect to be crowned with rosebuds. “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33), “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22) As there was no way to paradise but by the flaming sword, nor no way to Canaan but through a wilderness; so there is no way to heaven but by the gates of hell, there is no way to a glorious exaltation but through a sea of tribulation. They do but dream and deceive their own souls who think to go to heaven upon beds of down, or in a soft and delicate way, or that think to be attended to glory with mirth and music, or with singing or dancing. The way to happiness is not strewed with roses, but full of thorns and briers, as those of whom this world was not worthy have experienced.”
My brother, you need to understand this fact: a Christianity that never costs you anything in this life will, in the end, be worth exactly what you paid for it — nothing. You cannot expect to receive any reward from God, if all you did in this world was to bury the talent He gave you in the earth because you were afraid. This was the error of the unfaithful servant in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Such fear is evidence of a cowardly heart and cowardice is not a godly attribute. We are specifically told in Revelation 21:8 that the fearful will not inherit the kingdom of God. Do not kid yourself into believing that you are doing enough for God, as did the servant in the parable. While we cannot be saved by our good works, we can surely be damned by our refusal to use the gifts that God has given us! The “wicked and slothful servant” in the parable was entrusted with a talent, and he acknowledged both the authority of his master and the debt he owed to his master, and did not lose or waste what was given him. But it was not enough! He was required to make an increase with what he was given. He had to put his talent to work and produce good fruit. But he failed to do so and was condemned to “outer darkness.” There are many in the professing church today who are vainly trusting in the same sort of fruitless religion. Bible commentator Matthew Henry (1662-1714) explains:
“Many a one goes very securely to judgment, presuming upon the validity of a plea that will be overruled as vain and frivolous; slothful professors, that are afraid of doing too much for God, yet hope to come off as well as those that take so much pains in religion. Thus the sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason (Proverbs 26:16). The servant thought that his account would pass well enough, because he could say: “there thou hast that is thine.” (Matthew 25:25) “Lord, I was no spendthrift of my estate, no prodigal of my time, no profaner of my sabbaths, no opposer of good ministers and good preaching; Lord, I never ridiculed my bible, nor set my wits to work to banter religion, nor abused my power to persecute any good man; I never drowned my parts, nor wasted God’s good creatures in drunkenness and gluttony, nor ever to my knowledge did I injury to anybody.” Many that are called Christians, build great hopes for heaven upon their being able to make such an account; yet all this amounts to no more than “there thou hast that is thine” as if no more were required, or could be expected.”
And so I tell you, dear Christian, for your own good: Repent! You may be assiduous about your religious observance and hold to an orthodox confession of faith, but you cannot be doing the work of God and “walking in truth” if you are afraid to even know the facts about the evil in your world. You must stop lying to yourself. You must repent of your Ninth Commandment violations, including your cowardice. Take off your rose-colored glasses and do not be afraid to see the world as it is. Cease from the sin of disdaining knowledge about troubling truths. Stop pretending that things in the world around you are better than they are in reality. Embrace unsavory facts when they are plainly presented to you. Be of the same mind as faithful Christian Patrick Henry who said, “For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.” Take the time to search out the truth about the evils that are destroying our civilization, and who is deliberately promoting them. Communicate those same truths to others whenever possible and do not be concerned with the reactions of professing Christian pollyannas who cannot bear to face reality. Remember: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless– not to speak is to speak, not to act, is to act.” (D. Bonhoeffer) And do not fear persecution for the sake of the truth. Rather, remember what our Lord said: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12a). Take whatever action you have the ability to take, whenever God gives you the opportunity to take it. These works are not optional; they are the duties of all Christians within whatever means, opportunities, and abilities God has provided! You cannot call yourself a faithful Christian, if you continue living in a fantasy world of your own making, willfully avoiding the truth, remaining silent in the face of the evils that are destroying our churches and our nations, and failing to warn others of those evils.
Your Christian Brother