Why Civility Failed - What is spiritual warfare?
One reason that people don’t get along is that they have no idea what each others’ true positions are. They hear terms like “trickle-down economics” or “spiritual warfare” and get all angry without knowing what those terms actually mean. When they encounter someone who proudly supports such things, the conversation is much more often a yelling match than a learning experience.
What Is Spiritual Warfare?
When God speaks to humans he often uses images they are familiar with so they will understand him. When he speaks of spiritual things he often uses analogies with commonly understood activities within the local culture. Faith is compared to the mustard seed, Jesus to a foundation, and resisting the devil is called spiritual warfare. There are many ways to resist the devil. One can exercise prayer, forgiveness, or generosity in the face of mistrust, hate, rejection, or even outright persecution by others. There need not necessarily be any actual violence. It is spiritual warfare, not physical.
Unfortunately, when Christians speak among themselves, they often use terms that outsiders do not understand. I have encountered those who thought poorly of another who had used the term “spiritual warfare,” thinking him a confrontational person out on a crusade to aggressively evangelize the unbelievers and skeptics. This term has been the source of much misunderstanding.
Now to be fair, there have been cases of overzealous crusaders (and of course, the actual crusades fought with the Muslims 1095AD-1291AD), but the bible makes it clear: “We fight not flesh and blood, but the principalities and powers of the air.” - Ephesians 6:12
So remember, don't be too quick to judge. Someone who seems scary you might have misunderstood, and someone who seems scared might have misunderstood you.
This has been an excerpt from my 2022 book, Why Civility Failed. Learn More.
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