It has been a year since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. Since the beginning of the war, many people hoped some Russian leaders would stand up against him and remove the tyrant from office. So far, he is still standing strong after sacrificing so many lives. We might wonder when this will this end, or will it escalate to a world war?
History teaches us that dictators are symptoms but not the root cause because when a dictator is removed, the situation worsens, and the world could become more dangerous. Who knows what would replace the tyrant? A recent example would be that we removed Sadam Husein, but the country is still unstable after over a decade of effort, thousands of deaths, and billions of dollars.
In 1988, the democratic movement in Burma removed three presidents within a few months. After the last president resigned, the country went into chaos. The military junta stepped over and killed thousands of citizens in the name of enforcing law and order. It seems easier to fight for freedom but much harder to maintain it.
Dictators serve a purpose. They stabilize a weak society—repeat: a weak society. In other words, we have a government we deserve. It’s a hard pill to swallow. We might ask, “Can the United States fall into the hands of a dictatorship? How do we prevent it? What lesson have we learned from the history of dictatorships? Most importantly, what does the Bible reveal to us about handling tyrants?
The answer is that we need more butterflies than caterpillars. They are the same creature but have two different ways of life. Humans are born as caterpillars, but some of us metamorphose into butterflies, but some don’t. A country with more butterflies than caterpillars will sustain freedom. Otherwise, she is in trouble.
Two weeks ago, I shared a message titled “Listen to the Butterflies.” You can find it online. Today I would like to apply that truth in a real-life situation.
As Benjamin Franklin walked out of Independence Hall after the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, a lady asked, “Doctor Franklin, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin answered, “A republic, if you can keep it!” The wisdom is in that clause. “if you can keep it.”
It means the quality of the citizens determines the quality of the government. Many countries want to copy America without considering the quality of the Americans. I’m not saying we are superior humans, but we have more butterflies than caterpillars. If we have more caterpillars than butterflies one day, we will lose the republic.
Our founding fathers designed this republic that requires more citizens of butterflies to keep it. Butterflies have eyes and wings, but caterpillars are blind, so they must creep. A proverb says, “Among the blind, the one-eyed man becomes king.” Dictators can lead the caterpillars, but not the butterflies.
We see in the Bible that Jesus didn’t come to topple the dictators but to open our eyes so that the one-eyed man cannot become our king. In other words, Jesus came to show us the metamorphosis and turn us from blind caterpillars to seeing and flying butterflies so that no one could enslave us.
It applies to all situations, not just government. What enslaves you today—poverty, debts, relationships, employment, money, emotions, fear, or anger, you name it? Nothing can rule over you when you metamorphose into a butterfly life. Jesus calls it “being born of the spirit,” which gives us a strong ethos.
In today’s scripture lesson, Jesus reveals what is required for us to be born of the Spirit. Let’s begin!
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