Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Golf course or Battlefield - where are you?

As fans of the award winning television series “House” will be aware, Dr. House, the main character, is a curmudgeonly, blunt, tactless but highly intelligent person and that is part of his appeal - and he always saves the day.

Yet viewers of a recent episode in the current series, built around the issues of rape, abortion and death will see that House is shown to be uncharacteristically at a loss to save the day, unless viewers reckon his “counseling” a frightened rape victim to have an abortion against her conscience was wise.

Singularly unprepared to deal with evil and sin both House and the rape victim (who initially believes in God) talk it out until he confesses that he was also abused in his life and that she should agree with him that all life is meaningless and there is no God (unless he is “unspeakably cruel” ).

People today don’t like to think about sin and evil as though we can delete them just by removing those words from our vocabulary or labeling them as “unenlightened”. We would like to deny they exist. But living in denial of these things only causes more problems than it solves. Sin and evil have to be factored in to the equation or else life does not make sense, or even worse, God (even if you believe in Him) does not make sense.

To illustrate this, let’s say you are on a battlefield, yet you imagine that it is some kind of golf course! You are denying and you are blind to the truth that there is a war going on and you choose instead to see the field before you as provided by a country club. So you go out in your colorful golfing clothes with your bag of clubs and perhaps an electric cart. Just as you are ready to hit your first shot, an incoming mortar shell blasts a big hole right next to you. But still you live in denial and you think this is just how they make those sand traps.

Meanwhile, as you see soldiers running across the field, shouting commands, crying out in pain, guns blazing, you merely curse the inept country club management for allowing such disruptive players on the course.

So you go back to setting up your ball and, just as you take your backswing, you yourself are hit with a bullet. Now you cannot deny that there is a war going on - but it is too late. You are a casualty. Sadly, your last conscious thought will probably be a bitter complaint against whoever made and runs this horrible golf course. What an “unspeakably cruel” golf course manager he must be!

In this way evil and sin destroy people – precisely what the enemy and accuser of humanity wants to happen. For, as God’s word warns us, our enemy, the devil has done this (Matthew 13.24-40). He is roaming around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5.8). As one hymn puts it, “The World Is Very Evil”.

Instead of being ignorant of the facts or even denying the facts, Christians are to be aware of the battlefield we are in as it really is. Ever since sin entered the world through human disobedience, evil has been waging war against us just as the devil, a fallen angel who sinned, has been waging a war against God, invisible to our eyes though that warfare may be.

The world may deny that sin exists, but we Christians should know better than that, lest we be like that foolish man on the battlefield who thought it was a golf course or Dr. House and his unfortunate client, for whom abortion will only add a further burden to her already ravaged life.

Far better to know the full picture as God reveals it. He tells us that sin and evil exist and He warns us of their power in this fallen world. At the same time, by sending his Son Jesus Christ to “take the bullet for us” when He was crucified and died for our sins, God shows us how He loves us and has provided a way by which sin may be faced and forgiven through trust in Christ as Savior.

People would not have to live in denial if they knew that sin, death and the devil had been convincingly conquered by One Who died and rose again from the dead and ascended into Heaven, from whence He came, offering us a share in His victory and everlasting life as well, in an eternity free from evil.


Itibap188 said...

Hey - I think I SAW that episode! Wasn't that the one where Henry was all wound up, that somebody was out to "get him," so Hawkeye & Trapper take him out to their homemade golf course so he can unwind; I can't remember if his tee shot hit a landmine, or a sniper fired at them as he was about to hit his tee shot - it went something like that...

As a part-time golfer, occasional media critic, & full-time theologian, I think you've found an excellent way to illustrate post-modern man's way of 'avoiding' sin (as if it were possible!). He may chose to call it a golf course, and he may curse the groundskeeper for all the course 'obstacles,' but until he sees it for what it TRULY is (usually about the time a mortar turns HIM into a 'sandtrap'...), he will only deal with the symptoms (and then, only obliquely!), until he addresses the root of all evil - the desire to BE God; to call the shots, chart his own course, & be the master of his own destiny. Folly indeed!

Bob McCanless

Stan said...

Pastor Naumann,
I found it interesting that the young lady began quite adamant against terminating her pregnancy, and only after the philosophical discourse with House did she reconsider. Still more odd was the fact that she "trumped" House in the discourse. The fact that she decided to terminate even after she had essentially won the debate was quite surprising to me, and rather out of turn from the story. There was something deeply profound about their conversation on the purpose of life, is it a now or yet-to-come purpose. For Christians as so often is the case the answer is a "both", but it just goes to show the typically errant approach to the after-life in society.

Nonetheless... I'm still a big fan of House. :) Everybody lies!

- Stan