Defeating Condemnation: Victory in Community
During World War II, Lieutenant General Jonathan Mayhew Wainright was commander of the Allied Forces in the Phillippines. On may 6, 1942, following a heroic resistance of enemy forces, he was forced to surrender Corregidor and the survivors of the Philippine campaign. For three years he suffered as as a prisoner of war in a Manchurian camp. During his interment, he endured the incessant cruelties of malnutrition, physical and verbal abuse, and psychological mind games. Through it all, he maintained his dignity as a human being and soldier. But after the war ended, his captors continued to keep Wainwright and the other prisoners incarcerated. The war was over, but the bondage continued. One day an Allied plane landed in a field near the prison. Through the fence that surrounded the compound, an airman informed General Wainright of the enemy’s surrender and the American victory.
Wainright immediately pulled his emaciated body to attention, turned and marched toward the command house, burst through the door, marched up to the camp’s commanding officer and said, “My commander-in-chief had conquered your commander-in-chief. I am now in charge of this camp.” In response to Wainwright’s declaration, the officer removed his sword, laid it on the table, and surrendered his command.
For those who know Christ as Lord and Savior, the good news is this: Our Commander-in-Chief has conquered our enemies. Even though it is legally and positionally so, many Christians continue to live under the debilitating bondage of condemnation because they don’t understand or appropriate the victory and freedom that have already been provided. They stay in their inner prison, waiting for victory and subsequent deliverance. As long as the enemy keeps us bound, he can bluff us into accepting a defeatist attitude in which we think our only hope of freedom is when we finally reach heaven.
But God’s promise of freedom is in the present tense. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57) NIV “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
Don’t deal with condemnation alone. The Apostle Peter describes Satan as a roaring lion who is looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) The analogyis accurate because a lion won’t attack a pack of animals; it waits until its prey is isolated from the rest of the group and then strikes when its victim is alone.
When condemning thoughts and feelings come, share them with a Christian brother or sister you trust. Don’t try to resist them alone. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
This underscores the importance of having a group of close friends and loved ones with whom we can be open and vulnerable. It speaks powerfully to those who are married and to families: a deep, intimate marriage and close family ties or church fellowship help to keep us safe. When we vulnerably share with those who care for us on a regular basis, we keep ourselves in a safe environment. We stay close to “the pack.” When the enemy attacks, we’re not far from help!