Sunday, September 17, 2017

Limitation of Statues

Statue of Peter in Madrid (2003)
In our politically correct society, protests have arisen against certain statues. Among them are of Civil War general Robert E. Lee. Some argue leaving such statues intact refuses to reckon the legacy of slavery in this country. On the other hand, monuments are erected to remind us of regrettable events like the Holocaust. There’s an old saying, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”

Statues have a part of American history. Immigrants are excited to see the Statue of Liberty while passing by Ellis Island in New York City. The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC honors the president who helped end slavery in the United States. Mount Rushmore in South Dakota features the face of Lincoln plus three other past presidents. Romans 13:7 says we are to give honor to whom honor is due.

However, Exodus 20:4 in the New Living Translation says, “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.” Statues become idols when people worship them instead of God. Examples in the Bible include the golden calf in Exodus 32 and the ones King Nebuchadnezzar had built of himself for his subjects to bow down to.

Some people have statues in their homes as decorations. Catholics in particular often have statues of Mary in their yards. It’s one thing to honor the earthly mother of our Savior. It’s another to pray or worship her. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” I’ve also met people with images of Jesus hanging around their necks. Some think that makes them holy. My response to that is “If you put a leash around your neck, would that make you a dog?”

Certain objects have curses attached to them and should be deposed of. I’ve felt oppression when walking into places with Buddha statues. So if you previously followed alternative religions, you may need to do some spiritual housecleaning. 1 Corinthians 12:2 (NLT) says, “You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols.”

The bottom line is statues aren’t inherently evil as long as they don’t draw you away from worshipping the true living God. Personally I won’t have a Jesus statue but aren’t critical of Christians that do as long as they don’t bow down to it. Jesus is already alive in the hearts of those who have given their lives to Him.

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” - 1 John 5:21

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