A reader sent in the following question: How should we view Christian symbols, e.g. the cross or even the nativity, that are so deeply embedded in our culture?
No doubt each of us will examine this topic from different angles and through the lens of our own experiences. It is almost impossible to read through the Word and not question the historical use of symbols to represent YHWH. Have we used them as talismans for good luck? Or amulets for protection? Do we find ourselves fixating on them and declaring them to actually be YHWH as the Israelites did with the golden calf?
It is always a good thing to take a moment and hold our own practices up to the Word of YHWH to see how they measure up. First and foremost, we should seek the Father on this and be willing to take a journey to find our answer. We often ask Him a question and anxiously wait as if He owes us a prompt response. But the Bible shows us that YHWH has a pattern of leading us to answers through meandering paths of time and experience.
Further, we need to accept that our answer is just that — our answer.
When the Father calls our attention to a directive, He does so at the proper step in our walk, after equipping us with the necessary understanding to apply that directive. When we decide that what the Father has revealed to us, we must now reveal to everyone and force them to comply, we are abandoning the will of YHWH. We ignore that we received this wisdom because it was given to us by the Father, who was gentle and patient with us in His teaching and knew the right time to reveal this knowledge. When we lose sight of that, we intrude on others’ relationships with Him. We rob them of the opportunity to hear from Him, as we did. We take a truth delivered to us with lovingkindness and present it with the gentility of a rabid bull in a china shop.
So the question could be better posed as, “How should we view the use of these symbols in our own personal lives?” That question should be asked of the Father, and He will surely answer in His own time. You may find that He has already done so, and you need only respond.
As for how should we treat symbols in the lives of people we love, the answer is simple. We should treat them with all the grace and kindness the Father showed us over the years which we will most assuredly continue to rely on in years to come.
Book open, eyes on Him. Remember, the Bible is a mirror in which to see ourselves, not a magnifying glass with which to examine others.
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