I’ve been watching the TV show, The Walking Dead, lately. Suddenly it hit me last night that the Zombies are not the villains in the story . . . people are the villains.
You don’t get mad at the zombies for chasing after the heroes, they’re just doing what zombies do. In fact, there are occasions where you actually feel sorry for the zombies. At the end of the day, the characters you want to throttle are the humans who refuse to get along with other humans.
That’s a sad but accurate picture of the church. As followers of Jesus we are surrounded by unbelievers. They may oppose our efforts, but that’s no surprise: the gospel is foolishness to unbelievers. Unbelievers are not the villains in the story of the church.
The villains of our story are those among us who succumb to Satan’s strategy of division and discontent. Here are some ways Satan turns Christians into villains:
- He causes us to focus on what we want rather than our mission.
- He lures us to focus on what we don’t like about our fellow Christians.
- He distracts us with an addiction to the nostalgic past.
- He bogs us down with fear to the point of establishing unnecessary red tape and complicated processes that slows us down.
- He entices us to troll the Internet for Christians we disagree with so we can verbally assault them.
- He stops us with decision paralysis.
- He traps us with legalism and condemnation.
As believers it’s easy for us to see Satan as the villain, which certainly he is. But consider how different our churches would be if we looked at the list above and believed that WE become the villains when WE act in those ways. Tragically, I must admit that I’ve been the villain in more than one way. If we’re honest, all of us who claim to follow Jesus have been the villain from time to time.
Let us commit unity, fellowship and the bond of peace. Let us focus on our mission rather than our preferences, agendas, fears, and frustrations. Let us all make the conscious decision to never play the villain in the story of the church.
Do you have any other thoughts about how we, as believers, become the villains of the story?