J.K. Rowling wrote an excellent little book called The Ickabog. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. In the book there is a monster that hides in the deep fog. There is evidence of it, yet no one knows if it’s actually real. The king is certain he has seen it. In the wake of uncertainty of the monster’s actual existence some of his sly top advisors have found a way to use the very real FEAR of the Ickabog to gain a lot of power and make a lot of money. I won’t spoil the end of the book, but as you read it you begin to see the power of fear mongering Ickabogs. You see it when you hear of undercover FBI agents pretending to be political extremists who end up recruiting and training people to be real extremists who weren’t extreme before the undercover agents found and trained them. This type of entrapment might be as much a producer of evil as it is a force to stop it. The fear of the Ickabog attacks can make the attacks actually happen, even if the Ickabog was never real at all. You see it when a young black man is terrified to be stopped by a white police officer. The young black man is convinced something awful is going to happen. The white police officer is also convinced of this. The black man’s heart races. The white cop’s heart pounds in his chest. One has his hand on the door ready to run and the other on his gun ready to defend. Statistics are on the side that this should be a non-violent event. Yet the relentless marketing of the deadly Ickabog makes this should be benign stop actually become malignant.
The fear of the Ickabog has become the force behind the violence, necessity of control, and need for us to give our freedom and finances away to powerful people. Can you see it? The stories and rumors of fear and suffering can end up making more real fear and suffering events happen. Is the Ickabog now real? Independent of whether it is real or not it has real power. J.K. Rowling has a very interesting answer to this in her story. Again, I won’t spoil it, but I will say this. You will read this book and grow very discontent with loud powerful voices that make a lot of money off Ickabog rumors and fear mongering. They make real evil happen from the pounding marketing of fear.
Jesus was great at taking on the Ickabog rumors. Jesus did such a great of job of continuing to press into a person until the motivation behind their sin was exposed. You cannot read the New Testament in its entirety and not notice that charity and reconciliation for even our enemies is a prime mantra. The enemy of Jesus wasn’t people but the evil that has their hearts. Charity and reconciliation are two words that Jesus embodied. I love the way the apostle Paul phrased it, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” Ephesians 6:12. Charity and reconciliation are some of the highest vales in the Kingdom of God. We must learn to love people and expose and articulate the real evil engines that drive much of the modern depravity in them. The true enemy of the black man isn’t the white cop. It’s the fear mongering, the exaggerators, the whispers that the Ickabog will get you that drive much of the misery and somehow manifest real Ickabog attacks…that only work to drive more fear and steal more freedom.
When a wise teacher sees two teens fighting on the playground she not only separates them, she looks for the person who instigated it. The one taking bets on the side. An even wiser teacher learns how to shut down the lies, exaggerations, jealousy, and fear that give opportunity to this. She learns to expose the WHISPERERS themselves that say the Ickabog will get you if you don’t do something drastic. Jesus knew his first followers didn’t primarily need saved from Rome. All humanity needed saved from the lies of the devil.
Can you see it?
You will make the Ickabog the monster you believe it to be.
Just maybe the Ickabog isn’t a monster at all. Maybe it too is a victim of something deeper that Jesus exposed.
I personally do not see those that fear the vaccination or those that hate the people that do fear it as the enemy. I do not see minorities, immigrants, white or black people as the enemy. We are all so affected by the Ickabog rumors. In the wake of fear mongering, all white cops become racists. All immigrants become gang members. All black people become socialists who want to destroy America. All white people become evil monsters who want to reinstate slavery.
My friends, stop!
You will be filled with the very anger, fear and jealousy you claim to be above. Call out the engines that perpetuate this. See what is making money, stealing your freedom and demanding power. Jesus will not save you from immigrants, white people or black people. His goal is NOT to do away with societies or police officers in this church age. His goal isn’t to tear America to the ground or deify it as perfect. Jesus wants to save ALL people from the sin that is poisoning their hearts. Open your spiritual eyes and see what is happening. Fight to maintain a charitable disposition and seek reconciliation.
There is no other way.
We are destined to willingly walk into social hell without confessing our own hearts inclination towards Ickabog rumors (even if some are true) and the subsequent hate they produce. We need the work and heart of Jesus.