Sunday’s sermon passage instructed us to “flee youthful passions” (2 Timothy 2:22). As we reflected on those words, we considered how even desires for a good thing can turn into harmful passions when those desires get unhitched from trust in and obedience to the Lord.
Commenting on this, I said,
Let me give one more example here, which might be closer to home. I know we all want Covid to be over. That’s not wrong. But do you think it’s possible for that desire to turn into a craving that starts demanding for things to happen our way on our timeline?
Or what about the attitude we see all over the place these days that says “Don’t tell me what to do, and the more you tell me to do something, the less I’m going to do it.” Do you think that might be an example of an immature, sinful, youthful passion?
I think so. And the big idea I’m pointing to here is that lust is a bigger problem than we think. If we’re going to grow in holiness, we need to pay attention not just to our actions but to our cravings and our desires. Because that’s where it all starts.“Run for Your Lives” (Feb 6, 2022)
More than one person picked up on the subtle reference I was making here to the “Freedom Convoy” currently engulfing the city of Ottawa, and I thought I’d take a few moments to unpack what I was trying to say in a bit more detail.
First, some political comments. As citizens of a democracy, we get to play an active role in determining how we are governed. The main way we do this is by voting every four years (or so). If we don’t like what the government is doing, we get to pick a new one in the next election. Until then, it’s the government’s job, and not ours, to govern.
Now, when we think the government is doing something wrong, we have the right (and, some would argue, the responsibility) to let them know. I was born in Ottawa, and some of my earliest memories involve taking part in pro-life protests on Parliament Hill. To this day I maintain that there is a time and a place for Christian citizens to engage in principled protest.
However, essentially telling the government “we will stay here and make your lives miserable until our demands our met” goes way beyond mere protest. Democracy is built on the principle that one group of people is not allowed to unilaterally impose their will on everybody else without consent. I’m sure that the convoy supporters think that the Ottawa elites are doing exactly this. Even if that is the case, the correct response is not to turn around and do the same thing ourselves. We don’t get to replace one kind of tyranny with another.
What I’m (briefly) arguing here is that, from a political standpoint, Canadian citizens are allowed to protest. But we don’t get to storm into the capital city and demand that things start happening our way or else. That’s not how this thing called “democracy” works.
1: For Everybody
Politics aside, how should Christians respond, in a biblical way, to the convoy and the grievances which provoked it?
The basic point I want to make here is that while Christians can certainly disagree with the government’s vaccine mandates, how we do so really matters. 2 Timothy 2:24 (which we’ll be studying this upcoming Sunday) says that the Lord’s servant must be “kind to everyone.” Everyone. That includes Justin Trudeau and the citizens of Ottawa.
Consider also what that verse goes on to say about “patiently enduring evil.” Or think about Titus 3:1-2, which instructs God’s people to “speak evil of no one” and “to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy to all people.” What do these words say about all of “F*** Trudeau” signs or the conditions which the people of downtown Ottawa have been subjected to since the convoy rolled into town?
Once again, I’m not denying that Christians can be opposed to the vaccine mandates and express that opposition in appropriate ways. I’m not denying that we can have understanding and compassion for the truckers and the frustration they feel. At the same time, I am suggesting that Christians should very carefully weigh their support for a movement which is so widely characterized by behaviours which are contrary to how God has told His people to act.
There’s so much more that could be said here, but to return to the big idea of Sunday’s passage, we need to watch our hearts in all of this. A desire for a good thing can turn into a bad thing really quickly when those desires run amok from God’s Spirit working through His word.
We all want this to be over. But what we do with that “want” is really important—now and into the future. May God help us navigate this season with all of the wisdom we so desperately need.