He likes to stir up trouble everywhere he goes. But, especially in the church amongst believers. He gets the biggest kick out of watching us squabble, divide, separate, and be ineffective in our walk with Jesus. His M.O. is to break up the church, cause all people to be bitter, angry, and full of rage and in the end be destroyed and never live with God. He goes to church every day seeking someone or some instance to work through. If we’re not careful, he will try to use us for his glory.
I’ve been in church a long time and I’ve unfortunately witnessed sad events such as splitting the church up. It all starts with one person becoming upset or offended at something or someone. Instead of them taking it to Jesus and working it out privately with the person they’re upset with, they make the mistake of giving in to their anger and tells somebody. Next, someone else is mad and someone else and someone else…all without the person they’re offended at ever knowing what’s going on. Suddenly, it becomes everybody’s problem and you have people angry with no cause because the situation belonged to the first person who got offended. Satan used that person’s anger to build a following and if the pastor doesn’t do what they want…they’re gone and before you know it half the church has left to start their own movement. Satan won.
It’s amazing to me how quickly we get upset over something that could have been solved in a matter of minutes. And oftentimes, it’s caused by a misunderstanding or miscommunication. Because our humanism typically falls to the negative side, we’re not quick to try to understand where the other person is coming from. We don’t always think that maybe they were having a bad day, or that they didn’t mean what they said. We don’t give them enough time to reflect on how they communicated because it’s possible they would apologize for how they behaved if we would give them enough time. No, we get on the phone or send an email and the words begin to fly. This is the playground for the devil to work in. He wants us to harbor unforgiveness in our heart and never try to fix anything.
Sometimes offense comes in the form of someone thinking they don’t get enough attention in church, they don’t like the way the sermons are preached, how the worship service is conducted or they’re jealous over someone else’s ministry. They may even think the pastor favors another brother or sister over them. All of these fantasies live inside the person’s head that Satan has used to work through to cause them to feel that there’s a conspiracy against them and soon they’ll talk and behave like everyone’s out to get them.
I’ve seen a person all of a sudden start holding secret teachings with selected church members in their homes or hotel rooms and soon we began to see whole families leave to join their following. It hurt the church so much to see so many leave to follow a false teaching. Some even returned back after finding out that God wasn’t in that person’s movement. Others never went to a church again. When offense gets out of hand like this, everyone is hurt, not just the pastor. Why don’t we see this? It’s because Satan’s handiwork is to deceive. It’s the deception of poetic justice…that somehow this person feels the church got its just desserts.
And Satan doesn’t just like to work alone, he likes running in a pack, like you’ll see a pack of wolves. They run together and attack together; they’re of the same mindset. Just think, Satan didn’t just leave Heaven alone, no… he split Heaven up taking 1/3 of the angels with him. He knows there’s more strength in numbers and he wanted to hurt God because he couldn’t be equal with him. Sounds like someone’s offended, doesn’t it?
It is our duty as believers in Christ to recognize this spirit of offense that Satan works through and immediately cast any ugly thoughts out of our head. And, before we speak, consider our heart. If I’m hurting over something, maybe I need to stop and ask myself am I being too sensitive? Have I misunderstood? Maybe I need to re-read that email. The tone may not be what I think it is.
And, okay let’s say someone does hurt me or says something nasty to me, then I need to confront that person in love and let them know how what they did or said made me feel. It’s not my friend’s problem and it’s not right for me to involve other people without ever talking to the one who hurt me. Jesus is looking at us all the time and He wants us to live by His example on earth. If anyone should have been offended, it is certainly Him hands down! Yet…what did He do? He forgave. He loved. He died. And, He rose!
He is fighting for His church right now. We are His church. Let’s not let squabbles get out of hand. Let’s not use social media to air out our anger, let’s not use the pulpit to preach silly messages targeted at someone rather than talking to them in private. Let’s not use up phone time spreading ugly words or have secret meetings with other church members to start a witch hunt. Let’s not split the church, because you don’t like something.
If there’s something going on that shouldn’t, then try to see if there’s something that can be done to correct it and if it can’t or won’t be corrected, we have choices. We can pray to God and move past it or we can opt to find another church home. But, we don’t have the right to try to take other church members with us, that’s apostasy.
And where does that anger leave us anyway? It takes us right down the pit of destruction exactly where Satan wants us to be. It’s time for a change. Time is running out, it’s short. Jesus is coming soon, I don’t know the day and time of His return, but I know this…I don’t want Him to return with my heart in the wrong place.
Let Him find us busy loving, praying, praising, worshiping, and glorifying Him in and out of the church building! That’ll send the Devil packing!