“I wonder if he remembered to put the full armour of God on when he woke up that day ….” Yes, a fellow Christian actually said that to my brother shortly after we lost our brother due to an impaired driver’s foolish decision. Way to blame the victim, buddy.
Now before you say that this is a one-of-a-kind superstitious comment made by an immature Christian, I can tell you it was spoken by a ministry leader. I’ve heard this sort of statement from other believers upon hearing about sudden accidents and catastrophes that have fallen upon other believers.
Let’s examine this passage, shall we?
Ephesians 6:10-18 -“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”
1. Exactly where does it say in scripture that we are to take OFF the full armour of God? Are we supposed to remove it before going to bed and slip into our spiritual pyjamas, then upon rising, put it on again? If the armour’s purpose is to protect us, wouldn’t we need that protection the most when we are the most vulnerable? I believe the armour of God fits us so well and it is so comfortable that there will never be a need to remove it. It should be like our second skin!
2. I am sure Paul’s intent was not for his exhortation to be used as a mystical rite of protection. Paul used the analogy of a warrior’s full armour to remind His audience that we must remain diligent in keeping ourselves in the faith by knowing and proclaiming the truth. Through a righteous and pure lifestyle and by extending peace to our neighbours, family, and friends, we create a safe environment. By honing our skills in yielding God’s word skillfully against the lies of the enemy, we learn to battle well.
If we turn this passage into a superstitious talisman that we repeat daily and we don’t apply the truth of this passage to our everyday lives, we are in danger of reducing this truth to nothing more than a childish chant akin to ‘Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.’
3. Why do people automatically blame the victim? Aren’t we past that judgmental culture by now? Bad things happen to good people on occasion. We live in a fallen world. We must stop trying to make everything fit into a nice and tidy box labelled ‘Pat Answers.’ We must be willing to humbly say that we don’t have an answer as to why such tragedies happen when we really don’t have a clue as to why they happen. We don’t need to throw someone under the bus in an attempt to defend God’s character. In the case of my brother, the driver of the other car made some deliberate choices that included running a red light that had nothing to with Jim driving through an intersection where he had the clear right-of-way with a green light.
4. God isn’t cruel. He’s not waiting for His chance to punish us the moment He realises we let down our guard. Our Heavenly Father knows our frailties. He knows it is impossible for us to remain on alert around the clock. God doesn’t look down from on high and say, “Oops! Johnny didn’t put on that full armour, so I guess he’s on His own today. Maybe he’ll learn his lesson this time.”
Father God, forgive us for our judgmental hearts. Forgive us for trying to provide pat answers to unanswerable tragedies. Forgive us for believing that You are an angry God. Give us the grace to extend to ourselves and others the same patience, mercy, and love You have always extended toward us. Forgive us for sullying your word by diminishing it to mere superstition. Thank You for Your protection over us, Your guard behind us and Your presence within us. Thank You that when we are met with difficult challenges and sudden catastrophes, You strengthen and comfort us. You bring us through to eventual victory.
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Until Next Week
©2018 Katherine Walden
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