Human beings are quite a piece of work. With enough spin and enough moral outrage, we can argue, divide and dislike each other for things that are monumentally unimportant.
Take for example, the age old battle over the toilet seat. Men will vehemently argue that the seat should always be up. While women assiduously decry that the seat should always be down. But in this case, the battle is just a smokescreen. And the more they fight, the less likely they are to spot the deception.
As any doctor will tell you, both the seat AND THE LID should always be down. The reason is that with every flush, the toilet spews out an invisible aerosol spray of whatever resides in the bowl. And so while the sexes battle it out, they are duped into fighting the wrong fight. And all the while, their lungs are poisoned with the noxious toxins of the toilet. So yes, perhaps one side can win the battle. But no matter the outcome, no one ever wins the war.
Perhaps you laugh because you already know about the lid and the toilet. But it’s the same story with the political divide. And with the racial divide. And with the wealth and the environmental divide. It doesn’t matter what side you’re on. You will never win if you’re fighting against the wrong thing.
And there is a master tactician who always wants to make sure you’re fighting the wrong thing. This master tactician is the father of lies, AKA the devil. And he knows that you are most easily tricked and bamboozled when you are kept confused, scared, angered and bewildered as to what’s truly most important.
The devil loves holy outrage. He delights in mean spirited battles where through vicious name calling and contempt, we dismiss entire populations as defective or deficient. He wants us pitted against each other. The black against the white. The light skinned against the dark skinned, the Republicans against the Democrats, the poor against the rich, straights against the gays and the baby boomers against the millennials. And as we all fight, the devil laughs his way to the bank.
Some Christians see what the devil is up to and try to resist. So for them, the father of lies has yet another tactic. To get lovers of Jesus to ignore both Scripture and the gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit, he tells them, THIS IS WAR. And in war all bets are off. You don’t need to be slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to become angry. You don’t need to pray for your enemies and be kind to them. And it’s OK to be mean, angry and full of hate. This is war, and in war, it’s either us or them!
The devil is lethal with his lies and half truths. Yes, this is a war. But it’s not a war against people. It’s a war against HIM! As noted in Ephesians 6:12, our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
If we fight this war as if it’s about flesh and blood, then we fall into the same trap as with the toilet seat. We are once again battling the wrong thing. And we can’t expect to win here.
For even the slightest victory, we need spiritual armor to war against a spiritual being. And so we must fully depend on Jesus even when we are politically or morally opposed to the people on the other side of the divide. Remember, it’s not them were up against. Now is the time to fight fire with fire.
Signs That I Am Fighting This War As A Spiritual Battle and Not As An Earthly One
- Am I praying for my enemies? (Including that they know Jesus)
- Am I asking Jesus to enlarge my heart and understand them better?
- Do I regularly ask Jesus to give me insights and compassion?
- Am I asking Jesus to help me show acts of mercy to these people?
- Am I praying more for these people than ranting against them?
- Am I confessing to Jesus, my fear, anger or disdain for these people?
- Am I praying with others about the problem?
- Am I asking for compassion, wisdom and direction in these situations?
- Do I demonize the person, or do I see they are also hurting and struggling?
- Do I attempt with the Lord’s direction, to reach out on common ground to these people?
- Have I asked the Lord to help me get to know any of these people one on one, including my neighbors, coworkers, Facebook friends, the cashiers at the checkout counter, etc.
- In light of God’s two greatest commandments, do I find more ways to share my time, money, resources, skills, talents and influence so as to build my neighbor up, rather than tear them down? (Use my gifts to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, strength and mind, and to love my neighbor as myself?)