Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What's an Idol

"Little children, guard yourselves against idols" - 1 John 5:21

And that's how John ends his first Epistle.  He hadn't mentioned idols directly in the whole book.  Just one last little note.  Guard yourself against idols.

Well, actually that's false.  John was talking about idols the entire book.  He had just spent a whole book talking about how it is important to love your neighbor.  Seriously, love your neighbor.  Even if they are sinners, love them and pray for them.


So, you don't want to love *that* neighbor?  You know, that one.  The one who did X, who hurt you by doing Y, who failed.  The one whose live seems to keep on going when it hasn't gotten the vengeance or punishment or consequences you think he should have.

And so you don't love him.  For very good reasons.

You have to hate him, because otherwise things are injust.
You have to hate him, because he has besmirched virtue.
You have to hate him, because of the dignity of the office.
You have to hate him, because the seriousness of sin has to be shown.

Little children, guard yourselves against idols.  Especially when you turn a desire for justice, or virtue, or respect for the office, or even the Law into an idol.

Yes.  All these things can be idols.

See, that's the thing about idols.  Rarely are idols things that are bad.  Money can be a terrible idol - but it's not that money is bad, it's the love of money, it's when money is loved more than God when things become a terrible idol.

Justice is a good thing... but do you love it more than your neighbor?  "Whenever someone says, “I love God” but hates his brother, he is a liar, for the one who doesn’t love his brother whom he has seen is not able to love the God Whom he hasn’t seen." - 1 John 4:20

This is what idoltry looks like - when you love something so much, even so much, that it gives you the excuse to hate your neighbor.

Little children, guard yourselves against idols.

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