Over the past week some vandals got into our building.
They used pipes and crowbars they found inside to break holes and windows. They even made use of a scissor-lift truck which was inside the building, being used by workers to lift themselves up into high ceilings for work. The vandals drove the machine into various walls, breaking large holes and seriously endangering themselves (though they probably did not realize it). They also found a very nice piano that we were going to use for worship, and systematically disassembled it.
They also found some paint in the building and used it to paint various satanic symbols around the building and other foul words. The satanic symbols do not have any power over a Christian believer. Jesus himself said that the gates of hell cannot prevail against his church. That church is us. We are not afraid, and not worried because we have the blood of Jesus over us.
I believe this was done specifically as a spiritual attack. For five years this building has been vacant in the middle of town, with no vandalism at all. Now that word is spreading about our church, a bunch of satanic symbols show up in bright orange. This is not a coincidence. There has long been a spirit of oppression in York Springs, which we knew about before we decided to start a church here. That spirit has been centered over our building. We already knew that, too. It is common knowledge around here. Just ask around town about the history of the building and you will learn all about it. Now that a church is moving in, that spirit wants to stop us. The vandals did not steal anything, even though there were valuable items all around them. Their “work” was specifically aimed at our church, not the businesses moving into other parts of the building, and not for stealing. It was an obvious spiritual attack, and nothing else. It is obvious to everyone who has seen it.
Here is what we are doing about it, right now. We are overcoming evil with good (Romans 12:21). We are doing it in two main ways.
First, we are forgiving. My first reaction, when I saw the damage and figured out what had happened and made sure the right people knew about it, was to pray. Specifically, I prayed for God to forgive the people who did it, and to bring them back to our building once we get our church in there, so they can learn about God’s forgiveness.
Forgiveness and mercy are the biggest and most important themes in the Bible. Jesus, while dying on the cross, prayed for God to forgive the people who put him there. It is our duty as his followers to forgive anyone and everyone, for anything and everything they do to hurt us.
If you cannot forgive someone for something, it is probably because you have not come to grips with how God has forgiven you. Dwell on it, pray over it, and then go out and forgive whomever you need to forgive.
In this life we have a very limited opportunity to forgive people. When we go to heaven we will never have another chance to forgive someone. There will be no more wrong in heaven, and therefore no more chances to forgive. Take the opportunity right now to forgive, before it is too late and you can never forgive anyone else again. Jesus took full advantage of his time on earth, forgiving people even up to the point of his death on the cross. He saw one last opportunity to forgive, and he took it.
If there is someone in your life who has hurt you, you have a limited time period to be like Jesus. Once you get to heaven, you lose that chance. You will be in heaven, and it will be perfect, but you will not be able to forgive anyone there, because there will be no opportunity for it. We are forgiving these kids, now, while we still can. It is what a church does.
Secondly, we are using it as a chance to leverage more good will in town. I go around knocking on doors a few times a week, introducing myself to the neighbors. Everyone I have spoken to has told me they will support our church against the vandalism. A few even told me they would come to church once we open our doors specifically to stand with us in solidarity against this kind of behavior.
Our town is pretty small. There is a very good chance that we will get these kids into our building in a few months and get them involved in the youth group. I hope and pray that happens. If they want to mark their territory in a church, then I am praying that it marks the church’s territory on them, and they come back.
If satanic symbols and crime scare you, please understand that satan has no power over a believer. God has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). If you are fearful, then you are listening to a spirit that is not from God. Stop listening to it. The worst satan can do is kill you. That is all he can do. He does not have the power to condemn you to hell. God alone has that power (Luke 12:4-5). Fear God and get right with him through Jesus. Laugh at satan by the blood of Jesus. Laugh in his face. Satan is a pathetic little vandal. That is all he deserves from you, and it is all he is getting from our church.