Smear Campaign

How times have changed! In the days of Abraham Lincoln debates between political candidates would last several hours, involving the opportunity to present well-developed lines of thought. Much of the U.S. public, being well read and accustomed to researching the issues, afforded the luxury of forming candidacies based more upon the needs and answers of the day than upon the negative swipes taken by the respective candidates and their supporters.

You may have noticed that today’s campaign world is somewhat different. Mere thirty-second sound bites carry huge weight. Public persona and the ability to skillfully craft one-liners seem to exert more influence on voters’ decision making than actual campaign platforms. And those attack ads! How we detest the mud slinging by candidates and political action committees to shroud the opposition in a murky fog of negativity!

Photo by Lars Ploughman - CC BY-SA 2.0

In the short term these ads are very effective (and so they continue to be utilized), but in the long run they create a sense of political malaise that alienates the average voter from what he or she comes to regard as the repulsive world of negative politics.

But this post isn’t about political campaigns. What I’m trying to address is the reality that a massive smear campaign has been launched against God, and that many of us have fallen prey to its lies and negativity. The resulting price is steep!

Photo by Rebecca Kennison - CC BY-SA 3.0

It all began thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3 we read that the serpent  filled the minds of Adam and Eve with doubts about the loving intentions and all around goodness of their benevolent Creator. Beguiled by the serpent’s hiss, our ancient parents opened the door to an evil fury that continues to wreak havoc across the broad spectrum of our human existence.

Our loving God has gone to extreme lengths to reverse the curse and provide redemption for humanity, but the ongoing Smear Campaign continues to undermine His redemptive efforts. In other words, we continue to be had.

Why do so many of us have so much difficultly living by faith? Part of the problem is due to our natural tendency to walk by sight rather than by faith, but our issues with unbelief go much further. In the recesses of our hearts we find doubts; doubts about the credibility of the Bible, doubts about God’s willingness to meet our needs, doubts about whether the benefits of a life of faith are worth the price paid.

For years Christians in the Western church were at war without even realizing the battle pressing upon them. Today’s landscape is quite different. Emboldened and energized by key victories in the secularization of our culture, militant atheists are launching a plethora of attacks against Christianity—much of it against the character of God.

Photo by Richard001 - CC BY 2.0

As it is with navigating the political landscape, so it is with the religious. If we don’t identify and study the issues, we fall prey to misinformation and underhanded smear tactics.

The answer? Ignoring the issues won’t help. Neither will attempts to suppress our doubts. It falls upon us to be honest with our faith struggles, to confess our unbelief to God, to painstakingly search out answers to our nagging questions. Only then will our gaze pierce the negative haze of misinformation to see our faithful and loving God as He truly is.

Does this mean effort on our part? For sure. But the price paid pales in comparison to the benefits gained. Search for Him with all of your heart! No amount of mud slinging can mar His image, nor can any question ever intimidate Truth!

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.'” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NASB)

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2 thoughts on “Smear Campaign

  1. Bob, I was talking to some ladies about walking in the light last week, and I was referring to walking with Jesus with nothing hidden about yourself. When I got home, I realized the other half of walking in the light is walking in the truth of who God is to us; how He is to us, smear free. The more I have rested in His absolute delight in me, His completely unconditional love, and His ever-willingness to be with me, the more I hear from Him. It is me abiding in His love and Him abiding in me.

    After I stepped into the light of His love, I still wrestled with fearing God for a few months. I was reading John chapter 3 and at verse 21 – John 3:21-30 (NKJV), But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” and I heard in my Spirit, “Do you believe Adam and Eve were perfect in the garden?” I stopped and immediately said, “yes.” That sparked a feverish diving into Genesis, where I was taught that Adam and Eve were not created “perfect” beings, like I was imagining, and then at the first mistake they made, God’s big fingers flicked them out of His presence. That was a lie still rooted in my mind from Sunday school. They were created “good”, they were pleasing to God, not perfect little mini-gods (You cover this in your Search for Me series, and I was so excited to hear it). It was wonderfully freeing for me to realize that God wasn’t wincing at my every mistake. He knew I needed His help, He created me that way! I don’t have to hide like a bug afraid of being squashed by the Mighty Thumb.

    It is only my hiding from the truth, walking in darkness (the effect of my guilt and shame), that takes our fellowship away. The same as it’s been since the beginning of time. Even when Cain killed Abel, God was there pleading with him to come into the light. We have something Cain didn’t. Someone blazed the trail and made it easier to come as little children to the Father. We have been healed of our guilt and shame by Jesus’ stripes, and now we can all boldly go before the throne of grace. It turns out, the gospel really is good news after all the years of believing the smear campaigns.

    Thanks for checking out my blog. You read my bio in the rough draft version. Hopefully it made sense. Obviously things are in the baby stages, but I’m taking it day by day like you said.

    Marisa

    1. Marissa, You posted some great thoughts here. I can definitely see an abundance of fruit coming out of your willingness to learn and especially your choice to orient your heart toward Christ on a day to day basis. I’m excited to see what the Father does in your lives! Bob

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