There once was a young Prince who was the most handsome man in the whole kingdom. Unfortunately, some antagonism developed between the Prince and his father, the King, so the Prince decided to rebel against his father. The Prince did not start his rebellion with force; instead, the Prince started by winning the hearts of his father’s subjects. His near success is a lesson to us in how to win the culture war in our society. The Prince’s name was Absalom.
Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way to the gate; and when any man had a suit to come to the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And he would say, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” Then Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but no man listens to you on the part of the king.” Moreover, Absalom would say, “Oh that one would appoint me judge in the land, then every man who has any suit or cause could come to me and I would give him justice.” And when a man came near to prostrate himself before him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. In this manner Absalom dealt with all Israel who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel. (2 Sam 15:2-6)
After Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel, then Absalom launched his rebellion against his father, King David, forcing King David to flee for his life. Absalom came close to winning, but eventually the rebellion failed and King David survived, but not before much bloodshed.
A couple decades later Absalom’s brother, King Solomon, curated a collection of Proverbs, one of which is known to us as Proverbs 11:30.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls.
21st century American Christians commonly think this Proverb is telling us it is wise to win converts to Christianity; however, evangelism was not part of the Old Testament mindset; thus, that is not what the proverb was conveying. Instead, this proverb conveys the wisdom of Absalom’s strategy. Absalom started by winning the hearts of the Israelites. Proverbs 11:30 says “he who is wise wins souls”. The word “souls” refers to the immaterial part of a person as opposed to the physical part of a person. The word “wins” is the idea of conquering. Thus, Proverbs 11:30 means the wise person tries to persuade people to voluntarily join his cause rather than forcing them to join his cause.
Today, there is a cultural revolution taking place in our society. For several decades, unrighteous people have been promoting abortion, hedonism, unbridled sexuality, and homosexuality, among other things. They have been successful because they have successfully persuaded people that hedonism, fornication, and homosexuality are not wrong; in other words, they have been winning the hearts and souls of the people in our society.
Christianity has been losing this cultural war because we have failed to teach people the truth about Yahweh and morality. We have been trying to force people to obey the God of the Bible instead of convincing them to voluntarily obey the God of the Bible. Behavior is driven by the values and beliefs within a person’s soul. If we try to force people to obey the Bible without changing their values and beliefs, then unrighteous people will continue to practice unrighteousness; however, if we win the soul and cause people to have a desire to obey the God of the Bible, then we can successfully increase righteousness and win this cultural war.
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