“Demythologizing the monsters” month
by Sharon Robertson, Lt. Colonel –
It’s 5 a.m., and I just woke up to discover a myth staring me in the face—Orion, the mighty hunter, dressed in all his starry finery, was hovering just above the skylight in my bedroom. The bright stars in his belt made him clearly recognizable even though I didn’t have my glasses on, and I thought of God’s stern reminder to Job: “Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?” (Job 38:31, 32 NIV). I smiled in the darkness, and pulled the warm covers a little higher against the morning chill. God is in control.
And then I got up. God is in control! That’s too important a message to ignore in this month of myths and monsters and masks! GOD IS IN CONTROL! Monsters, real or imagined, hold no terrors for God’s people, because God is in control, and our future is in his loving hands.
So why am I bothered about so many things? Why have I allowed listening to the news to create monsters to be feared, when after all, my monsters, considered rationally, are only people after all—people whose motivations may differ from mine, whose beliefs may not be the same as mine, whose understanding of their place in God’s plan may not be the same as mine—but people, needy people like me, confronting a confusing, tension-building, terror-ridden world.
As far as I can see, there is only one reason for seeing people as monsters to be feared, or enemies to be hated, no matter what their behavior may be: spiritual myopia. Yes, sin is real. Yes, people are sinners, and their actions may be horrific, abhorrent. And yes, some people may be proud to consider themselves enemies of Christ. Some have gladly donned the mask of a monster, and proclaimed to the world their delight at being known as a threat to society; some don the mask of an angel, seeking to hide secret sin, and to convince the world that wrong is right, and obedience to the laws of God is weakness.
In spite of it all, we must, through the healing powers of Christ, seek healing from our spiritual myopia, and seek his help to demythologize the mythical monsters, see beyond the deceptive masks, and discover the people, the individuals as Christ sees them, the men and women, boys and girls who are lost without him, the people whom he loves, and for whom he prays, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
People can (and do) do bad things. We fear and hate the bad things they do, and that’s okay. We fear and hate the people who do bad things. That’s not okay. Love and hate cannot peaceably coexist in the Christian heart and mind. Jesus taught us to love our enemies, and to pray for those who despitefully use us; we cannot do that if we let the masks confuse us, and cause us to see people as monsters. Jesus had the only remedy: to love with his love, a love that sees clearly, but is not afraid, a love that is humanly impossible, but in Christ is to be the norm. He loves in and through us, and …perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).