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Learning from the Devil

Jesus makes an exceedingly strange statement in Luke 16:8. He said, "The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light."


What?!


The story is about an account manager who was about to be fired for dereliction of duty. On his way out, the man made sure that he was so kind and generous to his boss' customers that he would have lots of friends to lean on after his exit. The boss was rather impressed with his former employee's strategy. While it was dishonest and self-serving, it worked. He still lost his job, but he had future security because of his willingness to look ahead and plan accordingly.


The point Jesus seemed to be making was that His followers should use the temporary material resources we have now to prepare for the time when all of that will be gone. Even unregenerate men can see the wisdom of planning for the future.


This is truly amazing. The man in Jesus' illustration was evil. Yet, this wicked man could see reality in a way that motivated him to make a workable plan and then execute it.


This brings me to a point that I've been mulling over for quite some time now. The common Christian strategy for dealing with our philosophical opponents seems to mostly amount to a total rebuttal and dismissal of all aspects of every argument they offer. But what if the enemies of the gospel actually have some legitimate points?


Here's what I mean.


It's popular among conservatives to attack SJWs (Social Justice Warriors*) from every angle available. Even to the point that "we" deny that injustice even exists as all. But wait. We can deny their claims concerning who the blame should be placed on. We can certainly question the wisdom of their strategies for bringing about justice. We can even present a more moderate perspective concerning just how widespread injustice actually is. But we can also admit the legitimacy of actual injustices. And we would be wise to do so.


In Second Corinthians 2:11 Paul reminds us to forgive one another readily "...lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." You've heard it said, those who refuse to learn from history are bound to repeat it. Such is the case in dealing with the devil and his endless conspiracies.


The devil highjacks issues that we fail to deal with appropriately.


I was taught by my history teachers that communists have used racial tension in America to gain access and a foothold in our political system. Supposedly they have used "front organizations" to subversively make themselves look good. Then they have used their conquered cultural territory as a platform from which they can propagate the principles of their agenda.


Whether you believe that has happened or not, that kind of a pragmatic strategy is undeniably effective. It's opportunistic. It's dishonest. It's devious. It's Machiavellian. Jesus called it worldly wisdom. But it is legit.


So what do we do? Well, we deal with the real issues so that Satan can't use them against us. Allow me to be blunt.


Don't deny that racism exists. Deal with it where it exists in your life and around you so that radicals can't use it against you. It is a real thing anyway. It is an evil that needs to be addressed anyway. In admitting errors in this arena and dealing with them, you're not just pandering to avoid paying a price. You're actually solving serious problems. Even systemic racism: rather than denying its existences, note how our current systems puts certain people at a disadvantage and then work to correct the problems rather than resorting to disparagement.


I'm not saying we should cower or kow-tow to abusive and disingenuous SJWs, for example. Or to sincere SJWs for that matter. We can be courageous, bold, firm, defensive, or even offensive if need be. There is no reason to surrender territory to fools, unless the fool has a good point. And that's the point. Sometimes they have a good point.


Yes, even a dead clock is right twice every day.


Let me pile on this issue a little more. James wrote in James 2:19 that the devils believe in one God, and they even tremble in fear before Him. James basically commended them as example for us to follow, at least up to a point. Admittedly, we are in a rough spot (to say the least) if the devils are further up the road of wisdom than we are. Remember in the stories of Jesus' earthly ministry how many demons correctly identified Jesus as the Son of God? They were right.


It's not just racial issues where this realty needs to be considered though. What are some of the other issues in our culture where traditionalists and conservatives (including me) have great disagreements with liberals and progressives? How about in dealing with poverty, women's rights, immigration, environmentalism, the proper role of government, or whatever your pet peeve is? Can we find any legitimate issues that can be addressed? If so, let's do it. We know from experience that if we don't own our own issues, Satan will.


Jesus warned Peter, "Satan desires to have you so he can sift you like wheat." Satan knew Peter's weaknesses. Satan planned to shake Peter until he had removed everything good from his life. Satan wants to do the same to you and to me. He is like a roaring lion. He is looking to devour us. Why would we give him a foothold?


This is applicable to our personal lives too. It's not just about national and international social and political issues. Satan is looking for chinks in your armor and mine. He wants to bring down our families. He wants to weaken and negate the witness of our church. Let's listen to our enemies. Likely there is a truth or 2 buried in their criticisms of us. Rather than denying the existence or significance of such issues, let's face them head on. Let's deal with them so they can't be used against us.

*SWJ - a person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views

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