April 19, 2024

Conquering Fear: Surviving Camps and Persecution

China, Australia, and Washington state have COVID-19 quarantine centers. New York recently passed a law in the General Assembly allowing  “the removal of cases, contacts, and carriers of communicable diseases that are potentially dangerous to the public health.”

In most states, public health authorities already have the authority to detain American citizens to locations of the officials’ choosing if infected or exposed by a communicable disease that is deemed a threat to public health. Some of these laws exist in America because of prior pandemics. The tuberculosis pandemic led to the creation of massive “sanatoriums” where infected individuals were cared for until they died. Despite its status as a liberal western democracy, the United States has utilized quarantine facilities during pandemics, mandated vaccines (Jacobson v Massachusetts), and placed American citizens in concentration camps (which is still “constitutional” according to Korematsu v U.S.). 

While the fear of detainment in a camp should never be rational, the world is ruled by the wicked one:

“And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness (1 John 5:19).”

For Christians, it may seem strange that God’s plan may include immense suffering in a camp or prison. Especially if the circumstances are unjust. COVID-19 has demonstrated how easy it is for those in power to use fear of death and suffering to manipulate the masses. If you’re a “vaccine refusenik,” you may need “deradicalized like  terrorists.” Despite the United States’ claims of representing democracy and freedom, “59% of Democratic voters would favor a government policy requiring that citizens remain confined to their homes”, 45% of Democratic voters “would favor governments requiring citizens to temporarily live in designated facilities or locations if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine,” and 29% “of Democratic voters would support temporarily removing parents’ custody of their children if parents refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine.”

The uncomfortable reality is that a portion of American voters are extremists who support totalitarian policies against those who choose not to get a vaccine for a disease with a fatality rate of 0.0013% for children and 0.0021% for 30-39 year olds. And Christians must acknowledge the rising threat of the normalization of totalitarianism among American voters and treat threats of modern Gulags as a potential reality. After all, the CDC and public health already have plans to erect Humanitarian Centers and green zones to quarantine and isolate large groups of Americans. 

In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked the Emergency Act in response to a “fringe minority” of truckers “occupying” Ottawa and engaging in “economic terrorism.”

Trudeau autographing a Nazu flag

Trudeau had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a young girl while he was a drama teacher at West Point Grey Academy:

The Emergency Act has never been invoked before. The law provides autocratic power to violently remove peaceful protesters, seize their assets, and prosecute the individuals as terrorists. Trudeau authorized his government to seize bank accounts of any individuals supporting the Canadian freedom convoy, resulting in many Canadians removing their assets from banks. With Ottawa police warning protesters of imminent arrest if they refuse to disperse, truckers are committed to holding the line, as other convoys have blockaded various strategic locations in Canada, resulting in billions in lost trade revenue since January 31, 2022.

Trudeau has applied terrorism funding laws to include the Christain crowdsourcing platform GiveSendGo, which allowed the Freedom Convoy to raise money. The situation has resulted in reasonable fears of the Canadian government employing Tiananmen Square tactics to violently quash the convoy and repossess all assets of protesters and their supporters.

When facing evil, it will always fight back and leverage your fears against your virtues. Protesters face the loss of income, assets, money, property, and freedom. The material is what the demonic and evil forces of this world use to tempt mankind to fall from grace and separate from God.

But for a Christain grounded in faith, death nor suffering should result in fear. Christ conquered death and suffering is promised to those who are faithful to God. 

Being a Christain means only fearing God, not being fearful of the loss of the material, persecution, or freedom. If we fear something of this world, we must address the reasons for these fears. It is difficult to accept that concentration camps exist in our absurdist reality, and even harder plan to survive such an outcome.  But yet, here we are.

Fortunately, Gulag survivor Alexander Solzhenitsyn embodies the purpose of suffering for God. 

A Day in the Life

Totalitarianism is a result of a society separating from God.  Authoritarian regimes are caused by societal neglect. Members of society choose to not resist evil, thereby becoming accomplices to evil. Free societies do not disintegrate into totalitarianism overnight. Members of a society notice the symptoms of moral decay, but may ignore them for creature comforts and indulgence of the passions. Perhaps they consent to policies they know are unjust because it makes their daily life more tolerable or prevents suffering. But there is no compromise with evil. Ignoring one sin makes it easier to ignore many. And as societies begin rewarding evil behavior, a failure to resist transforms into a voluntary participation in sin. 

Once one sin, such as gluttony, is embraced, others soon follow. The more sin is accepted by society, the more evil is tolerated. Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag experience influenced the book One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, which was the first book discussing life inside a Gulag that was approved by the Soviet regime. While many Soviets knew that Gulags existed, it was illegal in most situations for citizens to discuss what occurred inside them. A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is many things, including a survival manual for a Gulag and an explanation for why God allows the faithful to suffer in camps. For context, it is important to understand how Gulags came to be and the significance of the communist revolution in Russia. 

The Bolshevik Revolution was a transgression against God. Christians refused to resist evil, even with force, allowing the Bolshevik revolutionaries to murder the Romanov family. Shortly after, Russia descended into a bloody civil war.

The communist regime was born from the blood of Christain martyrs. The Bolsheviks embraced an ideology of militant atheism empowered by the spirit of antichrist. The regime was an inversion of Christain values, making conformity to the Soviet authorities impossible for a Christian with true faith. The Romanovs were devout Orthodox Christians, while the Bolsheviks desecrated churches, murdered priests, and committed genocide against Christians. 

The Russian Orthodox Church became an arm of the Soviet regime, with faithful Orthodox clergy and laymen routinely imprisoned in labor camps or executed. The existing authorities within the Russian Orthodox Church at Denisovich’s time were allies with the Soviets, no longer practicing proper doctrine or following Holy Traditions. While the Russian Orthodox Churches were open, they were no longer conforming to Orthodox doctrine and rituals. 

In the ending to A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Alyosha, a Baptist preacher, attempts to discuss God with Ivan. Ivan is quick to dismiss the validity of prayer, discussing how priests from his home were corrupt, greedy, and sinful. Alyosha tells Ivan:

“Why are you talking to me about priests? The Orthodox Church has departed from Scripture. It’s because their faith is unstable that they are not in prison.” 

Alyosha’s comment meant being a faithful Orthodox Christain in Soviet Russia could only result in persecution. The only churches allowed to operate in the USSR were those complicit with the regime, and such complicity with evil meant they had no true faith. The Russian Orthodox Church was severely persecuted, with 85% of the clergy murdered by Joseph Stalin. Clergy and laymen who refused to compromise or renounce their faith were executed or imprisoned in forced labor camps, while clergy willing to work with the Soviets gained control of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Because resisting evil required violating the laws of the USSR, a faithful Orthodox Christain was nearly guaranteed to be interrogated, tortured, imprisoned, or executed by the Soviets. For a Christain, a failure to resist evil is a sin. Resisting temptations to sin is a foundation of Christianity, as original sin occurred because Adam and Eve failed to resist evil. Supporting or empowering the communist regime in the USSR, in any way, was anti-ethical to Christain values. 

But we must not allow the fear of suffering to provide an excuse to compromise with evil. Resisting evil means losing things of this world, like money, a career, or personal possessions. The loss of the material is a test of faith and should be expected by faithful Christians. 

Ivan argues that prayer does not work, comparing prayer to the Soviet authorities rejecting or not responding to appeals from prisoners. Ivan believes prayer is asking God to grant wishes: more food, a shorter sentence, or sneaking items past guards. Because Ivan is focused on alleviating the suffering caused by the lack of material things, he is blinded to the spiritual purpose of prayer. And while it can be tempting to pray for God to provide the things you are without, Alyosha reminds Ivan that:

“Of all earthly things and mortal things, Our Lord commanded us to pray only for our daily bread. ‘Give us this day our daily bread (Solzhenitsyn pg. 135).’ ” 

No matter the suffering faced by Christians, God promises to provide for our daily needs. The standards may be lower than what we believe we are entitled to. Humility allows us to understand how little we truly need to survive, while pride encourages us to demand everything we believe we deserve. 

When Alyosha describes the power of faith as capable of moving mountains, Ivan asks if Alyosha ever made mountains move with prayer. The exchange is similar to how the Pharisees demanded Christ perform signs of God to prove he was the Messiah, to which Christ responded:

“An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah (Matthew 12:33, 16:4).” 

Ivan was demanding a “sign” of God’s existence from Alyosha, not realizing Alyosha speaking to Ivan about God was proof of God’s existence. The conditions of the camp made Ivan’s daily existence a miracle. Ivan recognized those who put faith in the doctors at the camp hospitals died, while those rejecting science for faith in wisdom from squad leaders lived. 

“Well, however much you pray it doesn’t shorten your stretch. You’ll sit it out from beginning to end anyhow.” 

“Oh, you musn’t pray for that either. Why do you want freedom? In freedom, your last grain of faith will be choked with weeds. You should rejoice that you’re in prison. Here you have time to think about your soul. As the Apostle Paul wrote: ‘Why all these tears? Why are you trying to weaken my resolution? For my part I am ready not merely to be bound but even to die for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (pg. 135-136).’” 

“You see, Alyosha, somehow it works out all right for you: Jesus Christ wanted you to sit in prison so here you are- sitting here for His sake. But for whose sake am I here?”

Ivan’s question was answered earlier by Alyosha: because Ivan is faithful to God, he is in a Gulag constructed by Satanic communists. Because avoidance of prison is only possible by choosing to support the Satanic regime. Which the faithful of God can not do. Since unfaithful Christians did not end up in prisons, Ivan could not hear the Word of God if he were free. 

Solzhenitsyn learned the lesson taught to Ivan by Alyosha, an ambassador in bondage, stating the following about his time incarcerated in Soviet Gulags:

“Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul.” 

Solzhenitsyn’s life is a testament to the miracle of Christianity: transforming sin into a virtue. The suffering imposed upon Solzhenitsyn strengthened his resolve to destroy Soviet communism. Solzhenitsyn meticulously documented crimes against humanity, with One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich becoming the first step in a decades-long quest to expose the crimes of the Soviet regime. Solzhenitsyn’s work is the reason why he suffered in the Gulags. 

While we may not understand the purpose of our suffering while we suffer, God’s will is always done on Earth as it is in Heaven. We must have faith that even in our suffering, we are doing God’s will. 

Could Solzhenitsyn imagine, while trapped in a Gulag, that his writing would be credited with ending communism in Russia? And did any of us, in our hour of greatest suffering, believe good fruits could be born from it? Doubtful. 

No matter what, we will suffer. But let us prepare for it so that when we carry our cross, we will not, like the spiritually blinded Ivan, wonder “why me?” For we will know our suffering is because we were chosen. And we must carry our cross. 

Spiritual Warfare

One tragedy of the “modern era” in the nihilistic west is having the ability to see the disease while being conditioned to ignore its cause. 

For every societal problem, atheist cultures will consider everything except the divine. For example, illness is only the consequence of a quantifiable cause, like exposure to toxins, viruses, or bacteria. If I decide to go to a house of ill repute and contract syphilis, it is true that the exposure to an infected individual led to the infection and that doctors can prescribe medications to treat symptoms. But what is missing from the process is an evaluation as to why the exposure occurred: a falling away from God. 

Western culture represents an inversion of Christain values: sin is a virtue. Accumulation of wealth and status is the “goal” of the education system. Hatred of enemies is embraced if it accomplishes one’s goals, 40% of Americans are obese, and 52% believe Jesus Christ was a teacher, not God. 

There are over one million words in the English language. Yet the LGBTQIA advocates picked the word that defines original sin, Pride, as a slogan for the movement. And pride has now become associated not with sin, but tolerance and acceptance of the abnormal. 

“The expression of their faces testifies against them, and they display their sin like Sodom; They do not even conceal it.”

(Isaiah 3:9)

The sickness afflicting The West is not about a lack of tangible things or their improper distribution. Western capitalism and communism rely on mass consumerism, with both ideologies rewarding those who produce and consume the most. Communism argues that all conflict in human history is defined by how the tangible is distributed. 

In the West, the sickness is best described as follows: the disease is evil, its cause is man’s free choice to do evil, and this occurs because This World is ruled by the Prince of Hell:

“And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.”

(1 John 5:19)

While the Bolsheviks required a bloody revolution to establish separation of church and state, that atheist dogma was codified within the American Constitution and generations of jurisprudence. American culture, like many “liberal democracies” in the west, is a materialist, consumerist, and godless society. 

Attempts to understand This World are futile without knowing the truth. Without truth, there is no meaning. If nothing is true, then everything is false. Truth is The Word of God, which is an unacceptable belief in nihilistic cultures, as nihilism believes “all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated” there is no objective truth and the world has no meaning or purpose.”

In Will to Power, Freidriech Nietzsche writes:

Every belief, every considering something true, is necessarily false because there is simply no true world…Nihilism is not only the belief that everything deserves to perish, but one actually puts one’s shoulder to the plough; one destroys(Will to Power).

Revelation 9:11:

“And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.”

Apollyon, the King of the bottomless pit, means “destroyer” in Greek, while nihilism means ‘one destroys.’. 

Scientism relies on understanding the world through reliance on the natural sciences, which studies the laws of the physical world.  

God created all, Christ broke the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13), and God is “the way, the Truth, and the Light (John 14:6).”

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).”

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth (John 17:17-19).”

In a world where misinformation is an ocean, the Word of God is the lighthouse on the shore directing us to safety, while the storm can produce fog to dim the light from the shores. 

Demons are the storm that can produce the fog.The wind that carries the storm are the actions of those who chose to do and spread evil. God is the light, which demons and their human accomplices seek to conceal. 

And demons have long been worshiped by man:

“And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.”

(Psalm 106:3-40)

“And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.”

(Jeremeiah 32:35)

“Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.”

(1 Corinthians 10:20)

“Little children, keep yourself from idols.”

(1 John 5:21)

COVID-19 was used to justify the denial of sacraments and to limit religious rights, both signs of “the latter times” when society departs from faith:

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”

(1 Timothy 4:1-4)

Compliance to the absurd is an act rejecting truth, which allows demons to influence and manipulate man:

“Demons, like fighters, have strategies to influence and manipulate man. Daily life in an evil world requires understanding how demons gain influence over man: Of the demons opposing us in the practice of the ascetic life, there are three groups who fight in the front line: those entrusted with the appetites of gluttony, those who suggest avaricious thoughts, and those who incite us to seek the esteem of men. All the other demons follow behind and in their turn attack those already wounded by the first three groups. For one does not fall into the power of the demon of unchastity, unless one has first fallen because of gluttony; nor is one’s anger aroused unless one is fighting for food or material possessions or the esteem of men.”

(Philokalia Vol. 1 Evagrios the Solitary)

Our daily life must include genuine, concrete steps towards separation from the passions, which means the sacrifice of earthly pleasures for God. Perhaps that begins with eliminating unhealthy food from your diet or donating more to those in need. Connection to the material is binding ourselves to that which is man-made and not divine, providing a vulnerability for demonic attacks.  

That which causes anxiety separates you from God. Propaganda focuses on fear-based conditioning, which is not coincidental, as it invokes anxiety and separation from the Holy Spirit:

“The Apostle likened this world to a contest in an arena (1 Cor. 9:24); how then can someone clothed with anxious thoughts run for ‘the prize of the high calling of God’ (Phil. 3:14), or ‘wrestle against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world’ (Eph. 6:12)? I do not see how this is possible; for just as a runner is obstructed and weighed down by clothing, so too is the intellect by anxious thoughts – if indeed the saying is true that the intellect is attached to its own treasure; for it is said, ‘where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’.”

(Philokalia Vol. 1 Evagrios the Solitary)

Demonic attacks are not solely for the impious or punishment for sin, as devout Christians can be demonically attacked during prayer:

“If you cultivate prayer, be ready for the attacks of demons and endure them resolutely; for they will come at you like wild beasts and maltreat your whole body. Prepare yourself like an experienced fighter, and even if you see a sudden apparition do not be shaken; and should you see a sword drawn against you, or a torch thrust into your face, do not be alarmed. Should you see even some loathsome and bloody figure, do not panic; but stand fast, boldly affirming your faith, and you will be more resolute in confronting your enemies. He who bears distress patiently will attain joy, and he who endures the repulsive will know delight. Take care that the crafty demons do not deceive you with some vision; be on your guard, turn to prayer and ask God to show you if the intellection comes from Him and, if it does not, to dispel the illusion at once. Do not be afraid, for if you pray fervently to God, the demons will retreat, lashed by His unseen power…Cultivate great humility and courage, and you will escape the power of the demons; ‘no plague shall come near your dwelling, for He shall give His angels charge over you‘ (Ps. 91:10-11). And they will invisibly repel all the energy of the enemy. He who practices pure prayer will hear the demons crashing and banging, shouting and cursing; yet he will not be overwhelmed or go out of his mind. But he will say to God: ‘I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me’ (Ps. 23:4), and other words of this kind .”

(Philokalia Vol. 1, Evagrios the Solitary On Prayer)

In the West, consumerism has become the new religion, with endless products and services available promising to alleviate suffering. The more people consume, the larger and more powerful public institutions and private corporations become. A good citizen is, therefore, one who enriches the institutions and corporations the most. Money becomes that which is beyond good and evil. Greed, envy, and pride are virtues, as they lead to the acquisition of money. These new “virtues” represent the “doctrine of the devil,” with demons acting as Satan’s apostles and bishops. 

Christianity is anti-materialistic, finding value in the internal over the external and material. Systems that demand worship of mass consumerism are fundamentally hostile to Christain, forcing Christians to live in the “arena.”

Despite daily spiritual warfare, Christians must remember not only has Christ conquered death, but God has also promised to uphold enmity between the serpent and the Sons of God. 

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he shall watch thy head, and thou shalt watch his heel.”

(Gen. 3:15)

Israel (Jacob) and Esau represent the nihilistic battle against God, as Esau, a hunter represented destruction and rebelled against his brother, who Esau was to serve:

“And the LORD said unto her, ‘Two nations are in thy womb, and two peoples shall be separated from thy belly; and the one people shall excel the other people, and the greater shall serve the lesser’. And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over hairy like an hide; and she called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and she called his name Jacob. And Isaac was threescore years old when Rebekah bare them. And the boys grew; and Esau was a man cunning in hunting, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, and dwelt in a house.”

(Gen. 25:23-27).

While Jacob followed his father’s advice and did not marry a Canaanite, Esau took multiple Canaanite wives:

“And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, saying, ‘Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of the Canaanites.”

(Gen. 28:1)

“And these are the generations of Esau; this same is Edom. And Esau took unto himself wives of the daughters of the Canaanites.”

(Gen. 36:1-2)

“And Esau dwelt in mount Seir; Esau, he is Edom.”

(Gen. 36:8)

Esau is also considered the “progenitor of Rome:”

“Esau’s offspring split into various groups, each one led by a chieftain. One of these groups was named Magdiel, which is identified as Rome. Indeed, there is a longstanding tradition that the Romans were descendants of Esau, and as such, Jewish literature refers to the Roman Empire as the Kingdom of Edom.”

But victory is ultimately promised for Israel and those who have love and faith in God:: 

The house of Jacob shall be a fire, And the house of Joseph a flame; But the house of Esau shall be stubble; They shall kindle them and devour them, And no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau,” For the LORD has spoken (Obadiah 1:18).”

“And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels'”

(Matthew 25:33-42)

The Solution

“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.  Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We loveHim because He first loved us.”

(1 John 4:16-19)

Christ is a redeemer: He not only descended from Heavens to Earth to rescue man from death but also descended to Hades, Baptizing the condemned and offering even the damned eternal life. God, as Christ, did not have to suffer for our salvation but chose to do so out of love. And the only way the evil of this world is conquered is through love, as Christ did.

Nihilistic societies shun emotion. During COVID-19, governments and public health orders banned acts of love like visiting sick loved ones in the hospital or a non-household member at their residence. Shaking hands or hugging someone at a store could trigger members of the public to believe their life was suddenly at risk by an invisible enemy. Loved ones were allowed to die alone, without visitors or last rites. Signs of separation, like masks, gloves, and physical distancing, now represent safety, which makes individuals view acts of love, like hugging, as a threat.  

Because of the hostility of “liberal democracies” directed towards Christians, it is prudent to remember Rome was not built, nor destroyed, in one day. While reforming the system is a worthy goal, as Christians, we can not trust nihilistic and secular institutions. Instead, we must do what we can, when we can to contribute towards building a parallel society with Christian values. 

Censoring of dissidents, such as declaring a peaceful protest as grounds to invoke militant power, are signs of government “losing its moral authority:”

We must no longer support, in the private or public realm, unjust actions. For example, Christians and supporters of natural rights should:

  • Financially support individuals or institutions that support mandates
  • Refuse to provide services, products, labor, or resources to enemies of freedom
  • Boycott banks that support totalitarian regimes (closing accounts, withdrawing money, using silver/decentralized currency and bartering)
  • Create parallel schools, hospitals, security forces, and communities
  • Refuse to participate in lies
  • Organize a workers strike targeting all supporting of totalitarian regimes
  • Boycotting corporations that provide support to totalitarian regimes
  • Transitioning away from technology (CB and HAM radions instead of cell phone, typewriters and in-person meetings instead of social media, books instead of television)
  • Peaceful protests that cyphon support, money, and resources from totalitarian regimes
  • Divesting from “western liberal democracies” that fail to protect Christain and libertarian values

Boycotts can utilize publicly available information, such as government maps and import/export statistics, to inconvenience the regime.

We must remain dedicated to converting the wickedness of our time into love. And we must rescue those being led away to death and hold back those staggering to the slaughter. 

That is not limited to simply building the infrastructure we prefer. It means putting our skills to work to alleviate the suffering we see, such as addressing the rising homelessness. Likewise, hunger, addiction, and mental illness are widespread, providing an opportunity for a parallel economy to incorporate non-profit and social welfare agencies.  

The suffering and evil around us provide an opportunity to serve God better. Each act of love heals the wounds of evil. While our world is wicked, we have the power to fight against The Rulers of This World with the simplest of acts: love. Every day, do acts of love for others. Smile and wave at a stranger. Compliment the clerk in the checkout line. Buy a meal for a homeless person. Shovel your neighbor’s driveway. Donate unused items and clothing to those in need. Do what you can, when you can:

“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”

(Galatians 5:13-18)

Every act of love is light overcoming darkness and a chance to do God’s will. Let us not forget that even in spiritual warfare, we must pray for and love our enemies. As long as we can love, we are free. And if we are free, evil has not prevailed. 

“Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.”

(Jude 1:11)

“These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference, And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

(Jude 1:16-22)

Let us carry our cross and conquer the evil of this world with love, faith, and the sword of truth. Christ conquered death so we are already free. A failure to protect our God-given rights is a failure of faith, for God loved us so much that he withstood torture, torment, and painful death to ensure we are free. Let us now, like Christ, put on the armor of God. We have nothing to fear, for God is always with us and death has already been defeated.

Glory be to God. IC XC NIKA.