Does that really mean what you think it means?
As I mentioned in Wednesday’s post Ray Lewis had been under a lot of fire for several different issues in his life. His faith was especially being scrutinized due to his enhanced preaching, which really wasn’t any different from previous years, during the playoffs. I appreciate Ray Lewis and his ability to play the game. I appreciate his role as a leader on the Ravens football team. However, there is an issue I have with Ray and other Christians that seem to use Scripture for their benefit and to support their issues when maybe, just maybe, the words they are using don’t really work with what they are saying.
For example, Ray Lewis leads his defensive squad and others in a pregame chanting exercise. It is so exciting I find myself wanting to get into a four-point stance and knock over my chair, but he uses scripture in the chant that might not necessarily work in context. I heard him saying, and having his teammates repeat, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17) and then moving forward with a loud cry getting pumped up for the game. I have no problem with that verse and I especially appreciate the fact that God had Isaiah write it down to encourage His people as they moved forward on their journey with Him. The focus of this scripture reference was to bring hope to a people that were longing to be redeemed and set free. God was helping His people know that, yes they may have fled or failed Him, but He will not allow for them to be destroyed by enemies, aiming to demolish their name and God’s glorious name. Unfortunately, when Mr. Lewis decides to use this verse as the teams battle cry there is a complete disconnect to context. The Ravens are not facing an opponent aiming to denounce God or even destroy His people. On the contrary they are opponents trying to destroy the team in order to get a trophy with believers on both sides of the ball.
Now to us (the non-celebrity Christians) that tend to overuse God’s Word to support our views or our situations, context should be considered prior to using scripture. For instance, I have used and have heard people use the famous of words of Jesus on the cross during a rough time with people by saying “I need to forgive them for they know not what they are doing”. Ok, let’s be careful here. If you haven’t used this, well, way to be contextually superior, but I am sure there might be a verse somewhere you can think of that you have used out of context. Anyway, back to the quote at hand, Jesus was allowed to use these words due to his situation. You know, He was about die on the cross to save the world and the Roman and Jewish community didn’t recognize it, so they killed Him. So yeah, they knew not what they were doing (Luke 23:34), but as for people going against us today; I think they might be in the clear when it comes to Jesus’ words in that specific scripture. It isn’t the Father that needs to forgive them, He already did (remember Jesus), it’s for us to forgive them. Maybe, I need to use the scripture “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighboras yourself; I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18).
The point is this, before using Scripture to work in our favor, let’s make sure we are using it with discipline and discernment. Let us not use God’s words to justify our movement or our situation, unless it truly fits. Then, pray and ask for the right way to use them.