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The Truth about Selflessness in a Relatively Fickle World

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Casey McIntyre was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2019 and died on November 12, 2023, at just thirty-eight years of age. In the days leading up to her death, she urged friends to donate to a campaign that would cancel the medical debt of strangers. By the time she died, that campaign raised nearly $200,000, enough to pay off nearly $19 million in medical debt. As of today, it has more than tripled its impact.

In all the coverage I have seen of her remarkable impact, no one has taken a contrarian view—nor should they. Just for the sake of objectivity in reporting, someone could question whether the money could be put to better use or whether medical debt should be retired in this way. But Casey’s courageous generosity of spirit was so compelling that her story should be told with the affirmation it has received.

Unfortunately, such moral clarity is in short supply in our “authentic” society.

“The job of the army is to protect the civilians”

Authentic is Merriam-Webster’s “word of the year.” This should not surprise us since it is so often used these days to connote seeking one’s “authentic voice” and “authentic self.” Our relativistic culture assures us that we are what we believe ourselves to be, whether this claim relates to our gender, sexual orientation, or nearly any other identifier. Anyone who disagrees is being intolerant, which is the cardinal sin of our culture, or so we’re told.

The same is now true of others: if you think Israel is committing “genocide” and Hamas’s terrorists are “freedom fighters,” you can join multitudes of demonstrators who agree. This is despite the fact that Hamas is unambiguous in its stated desire to completely eradicate the Jews (which is what “genocide” actually constitutes), while Israel has possessed for decades the military capacity to take Palestinian hostages and yet has never done so.

A dear friend and I were discussing over the weekend the courage of our mutual friend now serving with the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza. She said of him: “It is hard to grasp such selflessness and devotion to fellow countrymen and complete strangers, knowing that his possible loss of life is real and the impact would be devastating for his own wife and children.”

And yet our friend risks his life every day to free hostages he has never met. His latest text notes, “The most important thing right now is the release of as many hostages as possible.” He explains why: “The job of the army is to protect the civilians, not vice versa.”

Of course, Hamas clearly disagrees, as it hides its terrorists behind civilian hostages and other human shields. And yet, its advocates in the West continue to claim that the murderers are the victims of a conflict their atrocities instigated. (For more, download our free ebook, The War in Israel.)

“The worst in the nation had prevailed over the best”

How have we come to such a place of moral confusion and obfuscation?

One answer was explained in an insightful article published on the sixtieth anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy by R. Jordan Prescott, a private contractor working in defense and national security. He notes that many Americans reacted to the president’s tragic death by blaming America. For example, journalist James Reston wrote: “Somehow the worst in the nation had prevailed over the best . . . something in the nation itself, some strain of madness and violence.”

This reaction led to the narrative that America is itself deeply flawed and violent. According to Prescott, a new “liberalism” emerged that accused our country of “a seemingly inexhaustible list of American sins—greed, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, slavery, genocide, environmental destruction, militarism, and imperialism.”

Their “solution” was to transmute this dogma of collective guilt and identity consciousness into what is often termed “woke” ideology today. Prescott notes that America’s educational institutions have been captured and used to advance this dogma “in direct opposition to the Judeo-Christian premises of the American Creed.”

In this version of reality, truth claims are but tools of societal transformation. Political strategist James Carville spoke for many in his profession: “Truth is relative. Truth is what you can make the voter believe is the truth. If you’re smart enough, truth is what you make the voter think it is.”

However, a relativistic “morality” that weaponizes truth for political ends and celebrates terrorists who kidnap children has its roots much further back in history than in 1963.

“The further away you are from the devil”

Here are the first words spoken by the tempter to the first humans: “Did God actually say . . .” (Genesis 3:1). From then to now, Satan’s first move in his strategy to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10) is to steal, kill, and destroy the truth.

He knows that when “truth is relative,” the truth that Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) becomes just “your” truth or “my” truth. And when we jettison biblical truth and objective morality, we have no compass or map for the journey and are, in the most basic definition of the term, lost.

What is the way forward? Jesus assured us, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32). Note the order: first we must “abide” in God’s word, which means to think and live biblically. When we obey what we know from Scripture, then and only then are we “truly” Jesus’ disciples. Such holistic obedience positions us to “know the truth” as the Spirit guides us (John 16:13). As we know and live this truth, it will “set us free” (John 8:32).

Such biblical living is what Scripture means when it calls us to “submit yourselves therefore to God” (James 4:7a) so we can “resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (v. 7b). In this way we claim the promise, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (v. 8).

Billy Graham summarized today’s conversation with advice everyone in America needs to hear and heed: “Don’t be deceived by Satan and his lies. Instead, stay close to Christ—because the closer you are to him, the further away you are from the devil.”

How will you “stay close to Christ” today?

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Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Hicco Dodi FC

Publish Date: November 28, 2023

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.

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