Every nation and culture has its own set of superstitions. Beliefs that were passed down from one generation to another. A tradition that permeated a culture’s way of living. A practice an individual has done over the years is now ingrained into his being. Until a particular action is done, then something will proceed once this superstition is acted out.
Superstitions, by definition, are beliefs or practices that aren’t based on scientific evidence but are considered by those who believe them to bring good fortune or ward off harm or bad luck.
Most of us have a few of these superstitions we practiced before meeting Christ, right? If not, then good for you because you were never a victim of the paralysis that superstitions bring. How many of you here have canceled well-planned activities simply because a black cat crossed your path? Or how many sleepless hours have you suffered because of a broken mirror, a belief often portrayed in movies, where something bad will definitely happen to someone because a mirror was broken before an unfortunate event?
How many of you here are waiting for the announcement of the lucky color for the year? Or what kind of clothes to wear to attract material wealth? What type of food to eat, what shape, how many of them, or what kinds of food to avoid to fend off bad luck. How about the number 13? How do you feel about it? Have you ever wondered why most hotels don’t have the 13th floor, no matter how many floors they have?
Have you tried opening an umbrella inside an establishment, only to find out that all the eyes of the people in that building are staring back at you? What about knocking on wood or biting on wood to prevent any disaster from truly happening?
Many of you will agree that all these beliefs are absurd, weird, and even irrational. And you may also be asking where these superstitions come from. Many scholarly studies were done in the past, and most of these irrational practices are rooted in religion. Others are rooted in Christianity, but most of them come from pagan beliefs that were carried over when a certain religion replaced the belief of these people, and the practices and beliefs were intertwined.
Superstitions in the Bible
As absurd and odd as these beliefs, some superstitions were also noted in the Old and New Testaments. This is a clear example that people have practiced these beliefs since immemorial. Most of these practices pointed out in the Bible are connected to worshipping gods and are thus culturally related to a specific group of people.
In 1 Samuel 5:1-5, the account tells us that the Philistines brought the ark of God from Ebenezer to their temple in Ashdod. Then they placed the ark beside the statue of Dagon, then for some reason, the statue fell on the first day, and on the second day, the statue of Dagon fell face down before the ark of God, its hands and feet broken. After that, the priest of the temple of Dagon never dared to step on the threshold of Dagon’s temple. They were utterly clueless as to why the statue of their god fell before the ark of God, but it instilled fear into their hearts. But for us, we know that God made the statue of this false god fall down before His presence.
Another superstition we can find is when the snake bit Paul after they were shipwrecked on their way to Rome. In Acts 28:3-6, Paul was bitten on the hand by a deadly viper, and the islanders told among themselves that he must be a murderer, that though he survived being shipwrecked out in the sea, the sea god would not allow him to survive. This may be a prevalent belief on the island, as they have no rational basis for the accusation except that this viper bit Paul.
In the Old Testament, God commands the Israelites to avoid the practices of the neighboring nations, which include divination and other forms of superstition (Deuteronomy 18:9-14). The Bible also warns against following false prophets who lead people astray with their deceptive practices (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).
How Do We Respond to These Practices as Believers of Christ?
The Bible is evident in its stand against the belief in superstitions. And as followers of Christ, we ought to respond in the same manner. We, believers, are called to follow and abide by what the Bible teaches. We are expected to put our faith in Jesus and all the things commanded by Him, knowing full well that He is the only true source of peace and wisdom.
One vital aspect we can do in response to the practice of superstitious beliefs is to be deeply rooted in the Bible. By studying, meditating, and acting out in faith the things that the Bible teaches, we will be able to develop a solid foundation to help us resist the temptations of these superstitions and false beliefs. If we know the truth of God’s word, then the lies of these practices will have no place in our lives.
Another critical aspect of a Christian’s response to superstitions is to practice discernment. Christians are called to be wise and discerning and to test everything against the truth of the Bible. They should be able to identify and reject false teachings, practices, and beliefs contrary to the Bible’s teachings.
As believers of Christ, we should always be ready to share the saving truth of the Gospel. We should offer wisdom and guidance anchored in the truth of God’s word to those struggling with the practice of superstitious beliefs. We should not look down on them, but we must be burdened to lead to the saving truth of the Gospel. We ought to love them and lead them to understand that only Jesus can offer peace and wisdom: not the practices and beliefs they hold on to, passed down from one generation to the next.
We are called to be the salt and light of this world, a world filled with darkness and confusion, and we are commanded by Jesus to share that light with those who need enlightenment. We should be filled with compassion to reach out to them so that they may know the truth of God’s love for them. We must be compelled by this same love to let them know that these beliefs are all lies of the enemy and will only lead them to further confusion and disarray.
Ministering these people is a challenging task to accomplish. That is why we must be deeply rooted in the truth of God’s word and ask for wisdom and a discerning heart so that we may guide them to what the Bible clearly teaches without condemning them. After all, just like them, we were also once a captive of the darkness and lies of the enemy but were saved and freed because of the truth of God’s love.
And just like them, we were once lost, but now we are found because of His grace. And thus, we must also point them to the true source of eternal peace and security, Jesus Christ.
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