Don't be a tool for the enemy

Don’t be a tool for the enemy.

I had a friend once who loved politics. He loved talking about politics and every time I saw him, he’d bring up the latest political intrigue that tickled him.  After church one Sunday I saw him talking with someone who did not know my friends’ bent toward all things nation-government oriented.  Then they said the magic word, “oppression.” This one word sent my friend on a 5 minute vocal tirade filled with emotion, cited facts, and various opinions.  In the end my friend walked away flustered and ready to write a new editorial for the local paper.  It’s interesting that all it took was one poke in the right spot, with one word at the right time, to send him on a quest of self righteous indignation. While I tell you this story of political heated discussion, it’s true that in most of our lives there are particularly tender spots that bring immediate emotions and opinions.  The enemy, the devil loves to use these against us to wound ourselves and others.  All it can take is one poke by the enemy in the right spot to send us off balance.

The clever trick of the enemy is division. Let us not play in this treacherous game of outrage provocation. If we allow ourselves to become ‘over-sensitized’ to perceived offenses, we will ‘over-react’ in anger and hate. Those are the destructive emotions promoted by our enemy and will split us into grieved factions. Something mildly offensive becomes intolerable. We may even feel we are justified to lash out when we are ‘offended’ and attack with ugly and hurtful words and actions. When intolerance for another view reigns in our hearts, we become weak and small, just as the enemy plans.

But God’s plan for us is to love Him and each other. These are the greatest commandments and they keep us from falling into the enemy’s hands.  As Jesus tells us in Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”  When we love others, we choose to live in the truth of His absolute goodness and His directions for our lives. And we are taught NOT to wield our moral superiority as a weapon of judgement, but rather an attraction to a better life in the presence of God. He teaches us that love works every time it is tried, and it covers a multitude of sins. When we love each other by refusing to react in lashing out at perceived offenses, we become God’s soothing oil to the wounds of offense. We buffer our hearts with the patience and deep compassion of the love of Jesus Christ.  We take seriously what the Apostle Peter writes, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8.

In our era its popular to give in to the provocation to criticize that tempts us daily. Overall I (Christine) see the Christian community resist jumping into the fray of fools. I pray we continue to strengthen each other against the enemy and his treachery. We know our trust is in God only, and we shall love Him and each other MORE, as we resist our temptation to jump into an easy quarrel when we are poked by the devil. After an argument one may say that, “the devil made me do it,” when in reality, all he did was plant a little thought in my mind that my sinful nature watered, fed, and nurtured into a blossom of resentment anger and outburst. The devil’s little poke set the domino effect in motion that enabled me to be a tool for him.

When I feel disagreement rise in me, I stop and ask The Lord to reveal in me where love is missing? Why is my judgement so harsh? Will my criticism bring me closer to Him?  Will my criticism make this person appreciate the grace and truth of God in a better clearer way?  If not, I ask He guide my thoughts back to proper perspective.  

 

Written by Christine Goodwin & Sky Cady