Everyday Encounter with God

Pastor Sylvia's Encounters with God in the Midst of Everyday Life


In the Face of Evil

Tonight’s television news was focused on two topics: The National Football League and North Korea. At first their issues appear to have little in common, but look again.

NFL players across the country demonstrated during the national anthem in a show of solidarity against the flag, racial disparity, and President Trump. The President scolded them earlier in the week and they didn’t take it well.

With the support of owners, some of whom joined their teams on the field, dozens of players knelt in silent protests.

Miami tight end Julius Thomas, who previously had stood during the anthem, instead knelt on Sunday with three teammates. Asked what had changed for him, he said: “To have the president trying to intimidate people — I wanted to send a message that I don’t condone that.” Articulately stated by a man who is paid to be physically intimidating week after week.

Thomas went on to say, “I’m not O.K. with somebody trying to prevent someone from standing up for what they think is important. Lots of people don’t have a voice and I wanted to tell those folks that they’re not alone. I used my position to try to empower everybody who seeks equality.”

LeSean McCoy, a running back for the Buffalo Bills, also addressed the issue following his game against the Broncos. “I can’t stand and support something where our leader of this county is just acting like a jerk, you know, angry and upset about NFL players protesting in a peaceful manner,” said McCoy.

The Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans both stayed in their respective locker rooms during the anthem in Nashville. The Seattle players released this statement:

“As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards equality and justice for all.

During this third week of the season’s games, when it was time to honor our country’s flag, honoring behaviors were hard to come by.

Meanwhile, North Korea has never been more in the American public eye than it is now. Once a closed off, anonymous and mysterious country on the other side of the world, under Kim Jong-Un it is now known for nuclear aggression, human rights violations and the demonically systematic persecution of Christians. 

Anyone caught owning a Bible, praying, or worshiping God is immediately arrested and transferred to one of the country’s massive concentration camps.

Kim Jong-Un has unleashed a barrage of persecution on anyone he sees as a political enemy. In recent months over ten thousand people were either incarcerated in prisons and camps, banished to closed villages, or executed.  

When I look at North Korea’s totalitarian regime of abuse and brainwashing, poverty and religious persecution, nuclear threats and political arrogance, I am appalled that its leader can perpetrate such evil.    

I hope the protesting NFL players understand that their freedom was bought by patriots who died for the ideals of our democracy. It isn’t perfect. But in a free country, men and women are permitted to voice their opinions without reprisal—something the North Korean people haven’t been able to do in decades.

 If players cannot honor this country and its flag, maybe they should stay in the locker room until the game starts.

“And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’” (Luke 23:34)