Enemies

Our sense of self-worth and our value to humanity is defined by our enemies. Ask any mobster or politician.

Or any evangelist, for that matter.

Let’s face it, people. Without enemies, how can we look in the mirror and call ourselves ‘good’?

Recently, Paul Sandhu did a show entitled Did God Create Evil. In it, he makes the case that the creation of evil was necessary for the plan of salvation to work.

Why would that be? Why can’t we just remove or avoid evildoers to make the world safe for the ‘good’ people in the Christian Utopia we think we’re building?

Part of the reason is found in scripture:

Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

You just heard it straight, folks.  There are no good people. Not even one, and certainly not you.

So we are evil from our birth, and there’s no changing that.  Ever.

Until Jesus returns, of course.  And so that little exception takes the ball game into a whole new court.

We want to be good, but we cannot.  It is not in us.  We have no ability to do this for ourselves.

But Jesus does.  And that is why we hope, and that is why we trust in His power and not our own.

This is not to say we don’t have power.  We do, and it is formidable.  But there is no good that can come from any power that we have, gain or think we control. No matter who it comes from.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

The Devil wants you to have power, to wield it.  But Jesus asks us to submit, and wait on Him.

And so goes ever on (for the power seeker) the struggle for power.

James 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

How can a blogger tell his reader to have patience and wait?  That what you seek will be given in due course, and shall not be hastened by fasting and praying and offending and yelling and screaming?

Ask for power, and you shall receive it, right?  So why doesn’t He answer?

James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Lust is any unlawful desire.  It may include wishing to heal someone outside of God’s plan.

But to wish that is to despise God’s plan.  And that can put you in a really bad place.

God’s plan is just fine the way it is.  Don’t try to ‘improve’ it.

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

So what answer do we have?  People are hurting.  Do we stand by, as the career journalist does, by taking pictures and interviewing the dying while they bleed to death?

Sir, tell us what it’s like to die slowly while giving a journalist the scoop.

The point Paul makes in this area of Romans is that there is nothing we can do of ourselves to help ourselves (or anyone else, for that matter).  And once we get our minds around that, then we begin to submit to God.  And yes, we call that faith.

Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

But what is the law that is established by faith?

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

So now we approach the end of the matter.  The carnal man needs enemies, that he may feel that he is strong. And, if he feels strong, then what need does he have of faith?

Because the carnal man doesn’t have faith, he seeks power. And power requires victims to prove to him that he has it.

We’ve all known people that felt like they had to hurt somebody just to prove they’re in charge. Maybe it’s a boss, a traffic cop, an abusive spouse, a drill instructor or a pickpocket. Don’t get me started on rednecks.

There is a passive-agressive side to this as well. Years ago the comedian Gallagher did a bit about authority. “Guys, when you get up out of bed to fix the dripping faucet, look back in the bed, because that’s who’s in charge.”

This kind of false love does not engender respect. Over time this lack of respect will be increasingly exploited, until a line is crossed, and resentment develops.

At that point, a victim is turned into an enemy.

Those in authority need to be careful of this.  You can’t be in authority and not be a leader. Being a leader requires first responsibility; authority follows AFTER.  And power comes after that.  All things in their own order.

And those under authority need to have the courage to understand this and act wisely.  And if resentment has turned a victim into an enemy?

Even in that case there is room for reconciliation.  But both victim and oppressor must accept their part in driving the other toward the impasse.

Jesus can bridge all chasms, if it serves His plan.  Do you believe this?

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