Some people love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Those who are evil will see wickedness to be sweet. Leaders and people however worship idols through ignorance. Paul was a blasphemer who was injurious to Christians, but he received the gift of mercy from the Lord, because he acted ignorantly.
Influential French theologian, John Calvin (1509 – 1564), pastor during the Protestant revolution, remarked, “Man’s mind is like a store of idolatry and superstition; so much that if man believes his own mind it is certain that he will forsake God and forge some idol in his own brain.” Inevitably, Calvin didn’t think much about the thoughts of men and women. Our thoughts are deceptive and lead us to turn against living godly lives. Ideas which are free gifts to humankind could have serious consequences.
What’s important, is being able to have meaningful communication with God. Emraan Hashmi (b. 1979), leading contemporary Indian film actor, says, “My hectic work schedule does not often permit me time to visit temples, but my conversations with God don’t depend on idol worship. Inside my heart, I have developed and sustained a direct communication with Him.” Hashmi was certain that idol worship wasn’t for him. Still, some people are caught up with idols in their world. They might not be aware their lives are ruled by earthly desires.
Idols might become so prominent in our lives, so we become unaware we are worshiping them. Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés (1485 – 1547), responsible for the fall of the Aztec Empire, wrote, “Thus they have an idol that they petition for victory in war; another for success in their labors, and for everything in which they seek or desire prosperity, they have their idols, which they honor and serve.” It’s bad enough when we don’t realize we live and serve idols, but knowing, and doing so consciously, becomes a sad situation. When caught up in idolatry there might be no way in finding our way back to God.
Yet, some idols might be gifts with social redeeming values. Shakira (b. 1977), Columbian singer, songwriter, and record producer, explains, “My dad is a writer, and to see him always in front of a typewriter give me the aspiration to write. He was my idol, my hero. I wanted to be just like him.” The personal traits of her father were gifts to emulate. His role as a writer served as a motivation for her. Some children dream of having parents who are an inspiration to them.
What you worship you become. They might not be all good gifts in people, but negative attributes. Leading British New Testament scholar, N.T. Wright (b. 1948), retired Anglican bishop was sure, “I’m not a Universalist, and the way I talk about final lost is this: People worship idols – money, whatever. Their humaneness gets reshaped around the idol – you become like what you worship which is one of the basic spiritual laws.” We are often warned, to be beware of money. Still, we can’t do without it.
Some people want more and more money, living for it, dying for it, and selling their souls for it. Still, we need the gift of money, for food, shelter, and health reasons. It however might become a way of being an idol in our lives. When we fail to help the poor, sick, and indigent, this is a problem. People who are money lovers don’t know when having enough is enough. They keep hording and hording this treasure, like if it will bring them happiness. It’s only a part of the picture, for what it takes to be truly content in our lives.