Christianity was supposed to be about becoming like Jesus. We went in the wrong direction.
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Tar Baby


In the Uncle Remus children’s story about Br’er rabbit, his enemy Br’er fox is lured into arguing with an inanimate lump of tar dressed in clothes as if it were alive. The fox becomes so ensnared with the tar that he is unable to continue his harassment of Br’er rabbit. The phrase “tar baby” has come to be an iconic metaphor for a situation that entangles you.

Satan has made used of a human weakness to entangle Christians so that they are unable to mature. The weakness is our emotional nature (Jer 17:9). This portal to the flesh can stimulate self-righteousness and inhibit the honest self-reflection that can lead to maturity. It is somewhat similar to the Pharisees who thought they had their own righteousness and subsequently despised others (Luke 18:9).

Two polar manifestations of this effect can be seen with both liberal and conservative political philosophies. With one, a sense of superiority is maintained by seeing oneself as “loving, accepting, and affirming” of every self-destructive act of perversion there is. The opposite philosophy is one of a sense of superiority to those giving in to their indulgences. This duality might be seen throughout human history such as with the epicureans and the stoics.

Perhaps the largest group is one that avoids political contentions because of the personal discomfort it can cause. These people value comfort more than self-righteousness. As a result, there is no maturity because to question, learn, and grow would require an unsettling discomfort. The denominational approach to religion offers a soothing package from which one can draw assurance that everything is right and complete (regardless if anything asserted is true). While the indolent passivity of group identity does assure comfort, it can tend to contribute to conflicts between groups such as with Sunni and Shiite Muslims (most of whom might not be able to articulate their doctrinal differences).

Regardless of indolent comfort, vanity, or even contempt for others, our emotions can keep us walking in the flesh and the Holy Spirit can be unable to do much work in us. Tar baby entanglements are seldom recognizable for what they are. Jesus told his disciples that they would be killed by religious leaders who thought they were acting for God (John 16:2). We should take warning from how easy it seems that people can act so passionately against God’s will thinking the whole time that they are doing God’s will.

To escape a “tar baby” one has to first know that one is ensnared. This is made difficult because it can be difficult to consider that what one thinks may have been a deception. Emotions will resist (sometimes strongly) any suggestion that one is not “in the right”. Logic can overcome emotions but usually only slowly as one considers evidence and concludes that perhaps some change is needed. The Christian can be aided in this if he takes advantage of the clarity that can be imparted by the Holy Spirit of truth.

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. - John 8:31-32



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