~Ephesians 6:12 NIV
This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world.
~Ephesians 6:12 God's Word Translation
About two weeks ago, I finished reading a great piece of fiction titled, Words a Novel, by Ginnie Yttrup. Among all of the great lessons of faith and trust (in God) that were weaved into this incredible story, the words of one character has had the most lasting and profound impression on me: "Look beyond a person's actions and see their heart. Look for what's causing them to act the way they act, then you'll understand them better."
From day-to-day, we are forced to encounter family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers that simply appear to us to be evil, bitter, aggravating, hurtful, insulting, vindictive, pitiful, and/or a "lost cause". A lot of times it just seems easier and more natural for us to be angry with them, "write them off", meet them "head-on", talk about how pitiful and useless they "really" are, and hold deep resentment towards them. It is this physical person who has caused your pain or has annoyed you to no end, so it is that person that you will have a problem with-RIGHT???
But quite often, in us responding in this way, we negate the deeper and more realistic issue that is actually occurring behind the scenes. We are in fact dealing with or in conflict with a physical human being, but one that has allowed herself/himself to be manipulated as a puppet by Satan to accomplish his purpose; which is in complete antithesis to God's will, His kingdom, and His purpose and plan for us. Somehow, through the door of sin and sinful natures, the individual we are facing has allowed for a foothold into their soul, and Satan has taken full advantage to come on in and have his way with them.
According to author, Mary K. Baxter, in A Divine Revelation of Spiritual Warfare, "we must clearly understand that we are not at war with other people...we are at war with Satan, who holds people captive to his will." Baxter goes on to expound on this point by reminding us that, "As bad as some people may seem, they are merely conduits for spiritual battle. Satan has been successful in getting us to fight people rather than battling what is really causing people to be the way they are."
God's Word implores us that as his servants and followers we are not to quarrel. Instead we are to, "be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will." ~2Timothy 2:26
God is calling us to look beyond a person's actions and see her/his heart...what's really causing her/him to act they way they are? Often hurt people really do hurt other people...insecure people tend to gossip and talk about other people...people who lie and deny the truth, seem to lash out and get mad with others because they cannot face their truth!
So, although is may seem a little unnatural and difficult to walk out at first, we must refrain from wrestling with the wrong enemy-that person standing in front of us (being used as the devil's puppet). Instead of wasting our voice, time, and efforts on warring with the wrong enemy, we need to employ our strength and efforts to war against he that truly imposes a threat to our lives and all we care about. And the KEY to this is, we must war correctly and use the most effective weapons of warfare:
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
~ 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
We must use the divine weapons that God has fashioned to bring defeat to the enemy, and FORGIVENESS is one of them. Forgiving that individual, releasing them and their actions against you, and praying for them is the true key to victory over our REAL enemy, the devil. When we war according to God's battle plans, we anger the devil and bring him to defeat. However, when we refuse to war God's way and war using our own worldly weapons, we will leave a foothold in our own lives for Satan to creep on into and do his will (just as he did our fleshly adversary). Ouchy!
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven...
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
P.S. I am not asking you to do anything that I have not already tried, struggled through, yet HAD to DO and DID (only with God's help and grace)! Please read the blog following to read more on God's weapons of divine power...http://womenofthebattlefield.blogspot.com/2011/04/unlikely-weapons-of-battle.html