My friend discovered Q.
And one July night this year at 10pm, I phoned him for what I thought would be a brief conversation. Our conversation lasted 3 hours. When we finally said our goodbye’s, I laid in bed feeling a deep mixture of gratitude and fear. I felt grateful my friend would trust me with his heavy, scary thoughts, but I also felt scared by my friend’s heavy, scary thoughts.
While staring at a blank ceiling in almost complete darkness, my mind felt haunted. Eerie quotes from my friend appeared and disappeared in my mind like fade to black transitions in a Powerpoint presentation- phrases like “I might have to choose a side” and “I’m sick of their bulls—” and “There’s something deeper going on.”
Who is Q?
From what I gather, Q Anon, a.k.a. Q claims to be a high ranking government official who frequently drops information to obscure public websites about “what’s really happening” in the world. Q drops everything from apocalyptic riddles to conspiratorial clues. For example, Q and his or her followers have infamously claimed Trump is fighting to break up a Satanic celebrity ring of cannibalistic pedophiles.
How’s that for polite dinner conversation?
Usually when a distant relative starts spouting off conspiracy theories at Thanksgiving, I politely excuse myself from the table. But lately, I’ve noticed some of my smartest and most well-grounded friends and even some respected pastors buying into big conspiracy theories about everything from 9/11 being an inside job to COVID-19 being a Chinese bioweapon. And that’s just the very small tip of a very large iceberg.
When my friends start talking conspiracy and end of the world scenarios, it usually ends in conversations about preparing for a great American tragedy. Honestly, half of me wants to run from these conversations. The other half of me gets intrigued. And I feel torn because I don’t want to prep for another Y2K non-event and look like a fool when nothing happens, but I also don’t want my wife and two kids to get caught unprepared if apocalyptic events are genuinely lurking over the horizon.
So, what do I do? I would like to say I automatically hit my knees in prayer and open up my Bible, but instead, I usually binge hours of political news and shocking national events on YouTube. I’ve watched a man shoot two police officers in the face, a fire tornado swirl in California, and a woman arrest an arsonist at gunpoint. And that was last Tuesday.
I’ve also watched rioters in Louisville try to set fire to a courthouse. I’ve interviewed a pastor from Kentucky about his apocalyptic dreams. And as I’ve contacted all of my close friends to calm me down from becoming a conspiracy theorist, they’ve revealed to me that they have either bought guns, stored up food, or chosen to vacate their cities of residence for a few weeks before and after the election in November.
I wish they were kidding.
Be Careful What You Pray For…
But since they’re not, and since my mind has not been calmed by more YouTube videos, more social media, or more conversations with friends, I’ve slowly re-discovered one thing: prayer. I pray all of the time now. I’m not saying this to earn your approval or a heavenly merit badge. I’m saying this because I’ve realized my connection with God is not a side benefit of knowing Jesus. In 2020, it’s become a necessity to keep me sane.
As I’ve began to pray more, I’ve started remembering some of my fervent prayers in the past. “Lord, unmask the evil in our society.” “Lord, expose the corruption in me, in my community, in my city, in my state, and in my country.” I along with many others have prayed these prayers, which makes me think, “Be careful what you pray for.”
The Truth About Q
From Q Anon’s PizzaGate to CNN’s Russian collusion, a core suspicion hides in the center of every conspiracy theory. Here’s the suspicion: Evil is lurking just beneath the surface of what we see.
And the Bible shows me something shocking about this core suspicion: It’s true.
But I don’t need to turn my eyes toward Washington D.C. or Hollywood to realize this. I can just look in the mirror.
When I’m drowning myself in the Ben Shapiro podcast, Fox News, CNN, and other online research, it serves as a distraction from my own problems. As backward as it sounds, when I shift my focus onto the world’s problems, I can successfully take the focus off of my own.
It’s easier to disagree with Lebron James and criticize the NBA’s financial ties to China than it is to work through disagreements with my own wife. It’s easier to talk about taking down an international ring of pedophilia than it is to stop watching movies that sexually exploit women. And it’s easier to cheer when a politician gets arrested for covering up wrongdoing than it is to repent of my own wrongdoing. In other words, it’s easier to theorize about someone else’s evil than it is to recognize my own.
How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. Luke 6:42 NLT
When I worked for Dave Ramsey, he always used to say, “Money just makes you more of what you already are.” And for me, more of what I already am equals “broken.” And the Bible says, my brokenness is not just limited to me. It’s universal.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23 NLT
Following Q vs. Following Jesus
If you really believe evil and brokenness universally plagues the human heart, the implications are gut wrenching. Unfortunately, the conspiracy theories pale in comparison to the truth. The rich, the powerful, and the famous all have terrible secrets. And it’s not just them. It’s my neighbor. It’s my co-worker. And it’s my closest family member.
They might hide it with smiles and try to forget it with distractions, but evil is all around me.
So, what am I supposed to do? I could move to the country, buy myself tons of guns, and store up lots of food. I could investigate the evil in my neighborhood, expose it, then cancel all of my neighbors and get them fired from their jobs. I could boycott every major brand imaginable because I know every man or woman who built their business is infected by sin. And I could just lash out in anger and try to destroy everyone and everything in my path.
Or, I could follow Jesus. And Jesus stepped out of heaven, entered the world as a human, and in the ultimate act of love, took the punishment for all my sin and my evil upon Himself. In His love, He chose to suffer and sacrifice His life to save me from myself.
If I’m a follower of Jesus, it doesn’t mean I get to look down on the lives of sinful celebrities or sinful neighbors. It means I get to enter into their lives to love them, sacrifice myself for them, and if I don’t know them, to pray for them.
Q Anon frequently encourages his/her followers “to do your research.” Jesus encourages His followers to love your God, to love your neighbors, and to love your enemies.
Next time I’m tempted to dive into the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories, I hope I remember this: The conspiracy of evil runs deeper than I can ever imagine. And God’s love for those involved in the conspiracy runs deeper still.
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:18-19 NLT
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