Two children were lost in the cold, dark forest. They saw a gleam of light and made their way toward it. They found a cozy house yielding mouth-watering smells. An inviting blaze nestled in the fireplace. A grandmotherly woman invited the children inside for warmth, food, and safety.
But the house was made of candy especially to lure children in, and the old woman was a witch intent on fattening and eating children. Hansel and Gretel had not made it to safety: they were in more danger than ever.
Fairy tales aren’t the only source of deceptive offers of help and safety. News outlets tell of children being kidnapped by a noncustodial parent or lured by a stranger who offers to take them home. Runaways get taken in by gangs who sometimes addict them to drugs. Young women are forced into sex trafficking.
Last week I read of a man in a secular position of leadership who was ousted because of the church he attended. The man had not expressed his views, but his church was known to oppose certain narratives of the world. The protesters demanded his release so they could have a “safe” environment.
It used to be that tolerance meant that all views had a place at the table. Everyone would not agree. Debates might ensue. But everyone believed in free speech. A phrase I heard a lot growing up said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (attributed to Voltaire but actually written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall).
Not so anymore.
When my children were young, I thought the best way to protect them from the evils of the world was avoidance. And that may be true for the very young. But as they grew up, I realized they were going to be young men out in the world some day. It would be better to teach them what was right and wrong with the things they would face.
The ironic thing is, the world scoffs at the kind of protection that silences opposing views. But now the world is doing that very thing: silencing voices that don’t line up with the prevailing narrative. This is more in line with what cults do.
But in trying to make a haven “safe” from disagreeable voices, the world is becoming ever more enfolded in Satan’s clutches. Of course he doesn’t want people to think there is any other way than his. One of his tricks is to get people away from hearing truth. If he can’t do that, he’ll distort the truth.
Instead of shutting off opposing views, people should investigate them.
In Write Better: A Lifelong Editor on Craft, Art, and Spirituality, Andrew Le Peau says:
If we want to be honest persuaders, we will be on the lookout for and stay away from hasty generalizations, false analogies, demonizing opponents, avoiding or sidelining the central issue (that is, using red herrings), and more. Honesty means respecting the truth as best we can know it, respecting contrary viewpoints, giving due credit, and using logic (p. 44).
Le Peau also advocates being “truthful with contrary viewpoints” (p. 41). Instead of misrepresenting or weakening the other side’s points, look at their strongest points. “The advantage of presenting the strongest case against our viewpoint is that when we show the opposing view is still wrong, we have made our case even more convincing” (p. 41).
It’s possible to be deceived by others’ offers of safety. But it’s also possible to deceive ourselves:
Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the Lord our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike. The Lord will not be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and the curses written in this book will settle upon him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven (Deuteronomy 29:18-20).
We need to consider the source of proffered safety. Is the one offering safety trustworthy? Are their words true?
Our only safety is in the Lord. His words are truth. He has made us and knows what’s best for us. He’s the only one big, wise, powerful, good, and kind enough to keep us safe.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe (Proverbs 18:10).
Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually! (Psalm 119:117).
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety (Psalm 4:8).
“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times (Psalm 12:5-6).
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe (Proverbs 29:25).
Does God’s promise of safety mean we’ll never be hurt by others? No, as long as we live in this world, we’ll suffer the effects of sin. Those who live for God will suffer persecution in this world. But we’ll be safe from falsehood, safe eternally, safe in the arms of the only one who can help and rescue and keep us. Jesus told us not to fear those who could only kill the body, but to fear the One who can send both body and soul to hell. And right on the heels of that statement, Jesus told how the Father sees sparrows, and considers us more valuable than them (Matthew 10:24-34). As John Piper said, “After calming the sea he said, ‘Why are you afraid?’ Not because Christians never drown. But they are safe in drowning.“
Whether God protects us from harm here or takes us home to heaven, He is our safe haven.
Are you trusting a false offer of safety? Or are you resting in God?
(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)
We can’t protect our children from the world.
BUT we can build into them wisdom & discernment.
Getting fired for the Church you attend….that is more evidence that Jesus is coming soon
Great truths here Ms. Barbara. I read the story about the gentlemen. Newly appointed CEO of an Australian soccer league as I recall. I’ve watched Australia, a country I’ve always loved to visit, destroy itself by falling into the “wokeness” pit of deceit and division, and I realize they are a foretelling of what America is fast becoming. Thank you for speaking truth today my friend.
I don’t remember if the story I read was this same fellow, but, unfortunately, we’re probably going to be hearing of this kind of thing happening more and more these days. May God give us grace to remain faithful to Him.
Excellent excellent excellent. But may I gently point out that it is NOT just young women who are kidnapped by the human trafficking rings? it is ANYONE (babies, toddlers, preschoolers, children/teens, young women AND men and even now older women and men. Truth. I help to support a Christian agency that helps to rescue people from human/sex trafficking and it is virtually ANYONE. Certain groups are more susceptible though depending on which country you are talking about.
I LOVED this post Barbara. Dave and I have never sheltered our daughters from the world although of course we raised them with core Biblical truths. But they went to public schools, joined secular extracurricular activities as well as church led activities/youth group and one even went to Christian college. we felt we needed to equip them to know the dangers of society and our current culture but also at the same time, have compassion and love for anyone who didnt/doesn’t know Christ.
Satan is on the war path and yes he even invades some “Christian” churches with lies and deceit. BUT….we KNOW Who wins in the end. GLory to God!!
I’m determined more than ever to pray for our country and its leaders. We are living in what coud very well be the “end times”.
Thanks for this great post.
Barbara, great article. Recently this verse keeps coming to mind, ”
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16.
That verse is so apt–all the time, but especially in our day.
This is true Barbara. Again thank you!
You’ve expressed this so well, Barbara. Andrew’ Le Peau’s advice is solid, and even if it is not the most most common approach these days, iit helps us maintain our own integrity if we heed it.
We must be alert and prepared to face the evil of this world. I am thankful to know God is with us whenever we face that evil. We do not journey alone.
That’s a blessed truth. Whatever we face, God is with us.
What a timely post! It’s getting so confusing for people, particularly young people without a lot of experience, to discern where truth lies. Like you, I began with thinking avoidance was best for my kids, but ended up sending them to public school while working hard to teach truth at home as well as critical thinking.
It’s so funny/sad that the world has falsely accused Christians of avoidance and lacking lacking critical thinking–but they don’t see these things in themselves.
Barbara, this is a wonderful article. This is something that needed to be talked about and I’m glad you did. You hit the nail on the head.
Visiting today from IMM #1&33
Thank you, Paula.
Barbara, this is a great article. This needed to be talked about and I’m glad you did. You spoke to the heart of the matter.
Visiting today from IMM #1&33
So very very relevant….
Timely truths here. There is freedom in truth and safety in being firmly grounded in the truth and wisdom of God.
I believe I know the story your talking about here Barbara.
Free speech to cult control is a sad commentary on our culture. I appreciate your book recommendation by Le Peau.
I wish this post was required reading, Barbara!
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