Posted first at Are You Up Yet?
In the 5th Chapter of the Luke’s Gospel, we find a particular passage of scripture. One in which Jesus is having a very curious conversation with an unlikely collaborator. The context in which the text occurs suggests that Jesus has traveled across the sea of Galilee with His disciples for the purpose of releasing a man who is possessed by demons. Jesus arrives in the Gadarenes and is met by this beleaguered brother. The demonic influence upon the man has driven him to the point of insanity. The text tells us that he cannot be restrained, so much so that he has not only become a danger to those around him but has also begun to damage himself. It is a destructive dilemma, to say the least.
But in this moment, Jesus does something both peculiar and powerful. As he is confronted with the reckless reality of the demons, with all of the power to exorcise these demons at His disposal, Jesus goes into frank and honest dialogue with the demons. Before Jesus heals the man, Jesus has deep discussion with his demons. Before my Savior offers deliverance, Jesus engages in discourse with the devils living deep within this brother.
I think about this practice as it relates to efforts of equality and practices in progress in the United States today. The disorders of this democracy are known all too well. To hear that racism, discrimination, sexism, institutional oppression and a host of other issues plague this province is no surprise to anyone. But for all of the professed commitment to change, there is little, if any, conversation about the realities of these issues. The collective cry, across all fronts, is that people want this nation to be better, but in order for there to be meaningful improvement, there must first be frank interlocution. If the demons we see around us cannot be confronted in conversation, how we possibly expect there to ever be a conversion?
If Jesus Christ is the model by which we measure our life standards, then we must be willing to confidently address the demons of this day, just as He did back in His day on the shores of the Galilee. Prophetic communication has been so watered down by political correctness that to be uncompromising in the face of these social demons is often seen as unpatriotic. The purging of this province must start with Christians speaking to the spirits that surround us; even if that speech stretches us to the point of discomfort.Our love for our Lord, our desire to live like God, must be at the center of these confabulations. We need to be able to say that black lives are not treated and valued in the same way that other lives are in this country We need to be able to say that women are passively regarded as a lower class of being in almost every way possible in America. We need to be able to say that poverty, war, and fear are all good for business in America. We need to be able to say that “Muslim” & “Terrorist” are not synonyms. We need to be able to say that LGBTQ children of God are children of God. Not being able to say these (and others) are all present day demons of our nation. Demons that have gone unaddressed for too long and now are completely unrestrained. Demons that ultimately prompt America to damage herself and others.
Not only must we who love God and His righteousness be able to say things like this, but Christians who may not be directly affected by these demons (even Christians who may consciously or unconsciously benefit from the work of these demons) must be willing to listen; to hear these statements as necessary and not paranoid ranting.
When demons aren’t discussed, comedians can be insensitive to the African experience in America and justify it with creative license. When demons aren’t discussed, video proof of a murder isn’t enough to garner a conviction. When demons aren’t discussed more time is spent questioning the character of the victim than that of the victimizer. When demons aren’t discussed, ethnicity is devalued in the name of a warped sense of equality. When demons aren’t discussed, audacity is confused with integrity and democracy devolves into dictatorship. When demons aren’t discussed, the nation, and all of those who reside in it, are left to become the worst versions of themselves; versions that will, ultimately, consume each other.
We, as believers, need to begin to have conversations about things that matter. Talks that create the space for transformation the Lord desires for us all. If we choose not to, we vacate the word “change” of all its meaning. How much longer can we go on living in a world where demons aren’t discussed?
Derrick Holmes is a R3 Contributor
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