” And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Rev. 12:9)
Throughout history the devil has often been depicted as whispering in the ears of people, in art, story, and even in modern movies. He is planting evil thoughts in their minds. In this way that great deceiver is leading the person hearing his voice to assume it is their own thinking welling up. Thoughts centered around and affecting our EGO, like “how great we are,” and ” shame on those who don’t agree and are taking us for granted.” Thoughts that breed such sickness of spirit as distrust, anger, fear, insecurity, effrontery, and the like. Perhaps it is a voice calling us to think more highly of ourselves than we ought, prideful and arrogant thoughts.
To justify “our” thinking we lie, cheat, misstate, mislead, confuse, and point out others’ failings in order to hide and conceal our own. We question all motives not driven by us, or that cannot be bent to our purpose. We assume, and resent, that others are planning to, or are, benefiting in ways they ought not — defined as ways beyond our own ability to benefit or control…
We are angry about even little things over which we have no control… Why? because we think we should control all things, have all power. We don’t say we feel that way out loud. No, it is the little voice in us that affirms us. We become angry when people do not cede us power over their own lives or business. We resent our employers and the people over us, we resent the businesses and institutions, the government, we are associated with, our family and friends — our church.
We resent any success in the lives of others, and glory in failure, even of friends…In fact we may even manipulate people and situations to bring about dissension, brokenness, hurt, fear, anger, and the like, and use whatever weapons at our disposal to assure failure, because to bring about failure is to prove our power and control. We may bring about the destruction of things we initiate, even over the people and groups we love…We make villains of our “enemies,” and those who would disagree with us.
How many marriages, friendships, churches, groups, children, parents, siblings, pets, cars, houses, schools, neighbors, clothiers, diets, vitamins, web sites, mirrors, does it take to find the perfection we long for, a world where we get our way, that we are the object of worship, where we don’t have to prove ourselves just be completely approved.
Satan whispers, but it is, after all, about us, and to our glory. Create misery to punish those who do not see that glory, cede that power, live in accordance with our plan for their lives — those who refuse to think, look, act, as we demand of them …. All because we listen to a whisper from one who lost Heaven to follow his own glory, and we believe a liar.
Lord have mercy. Christ have Mercy. Lord have Mercy.
The Rev. Walter Van Zandt Windsor is rector at Trinity Episcopal Church.
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