One of the easiest traps to fall into is the belief that the problem always lies within other people. We are quick to see the faults and flaws in others, while being blind to our own. We are angered over their misunderstandings or their views, while we hold our beliefs and ideas superior. Even when we notice our flaws, we downplay them or we call them out, but we struggle to change. We think the problem is out there, not right within our own hearts.
We do indeed have a real enemy. One who is much more powerful and significantly more subtle. Our enemy is one who can twist our minds and hearts into sin patterns even if we are “right”. See, if Satan can get you to hate your neighbor or act out of fear, he has won. If he can get us to believe our hope is in politics or Supreme Court justices, he has won. If he can get us so focused on this world that we fail to remember eternity, he has won.
To be clear, in the end, he doesn’t win. We all know that. But, he can take us down with him when he gets us to focus on the problems in others instead of what God would have us do, which is to love and help the people around us. The second we believe that the problem is in everyone else but not in ourselves, he has you right where he wants you.
Politics in the US are divided and the division grows every day. Republicans have gladly elected representatives that are unwilling to give or concede anything to a democrat or someone, somewhat left-leaning. I have to ask, how do we feel when Democrats don’t grant what Republicans propose, simply because it’s a republican objective? While I believe there are some subjects that are worth being staunch about, maybe we have made mountains out of mole hills? If we don’t like that behavior in others, we shouldn’t behave that way ourselves.
Our hope is not in our elected officials or our Supreme Court justices. It’s not in our President or our right to vote. Our hope is not in our political party. Our hope should be in Jesus and His eternal gift. His example is the one to be followed—He loved to the point of laying Himself down for those who “know not what they do.” He loved them, even though they nailed Him to a cross. They beat Him, mocked Him, whipped Him. And, His example is the one to follow. Not to “admire” or “commend,” but to follow.
If Jesus is the target, then we need to love others, even when they don’t know what they are really doing or who they are really hurting. Romans 1:25 says, “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise!” They traded the truth about God for a lie. When we see someone who is living inconsistent with God’s design, we can know—they traded the truth about God for a lie. They worship the created instead of the Creator. And that, my readers, that should break our hearts. They have bought the lie, and they’ll pay dearly for it. And that should not anger us, but instead grieve us.
We need to stop believing that the problem is “out there,” in everyone else’s heart and home. No, the problem is in you, and it’s in me. It’s in my selfish, twisted heart. The heart is deceitful. And only by the grace of God, can I start peeling back those layers of selfishness that surround my heart. That’s why “living your own truth,” is a very dangerous thing. You see, the heart needs to be guided. And, we need to be reminded of the hope found in Christ.
Next time you think Democrats or even some Republicans are the enemy, remember the enemy is not in any one’s face that we can see. It’s deeper than that. It’s Satan at work in our flesh. And the second we forget that Jesus died for those on the other side of the aisle, Satan has won. As soon as we affiliate more strongly with our political party than we do with God and His Kingdom, Satan has taken the reigns.
Photo by Donn Strain