It is natural to make enemies of people who try to hurt you or make you insecure. Boundaries are set, lines are drawn and suspicion flies across the mind with every move of someone already branded an enemy. This is a normal characteristic of the human nature defaulted by sin. But what is the true situation? Why are we tempted to make enemies of our fellow humans? How do we respond to offenses from our brethren in the household of faith?
The True Situation
It is easy to see that before sin set into the world, beauty was all there was to experience. In fact, five times, Genesis 1 records that God saw that what He had made was “good”, and then on the sixth day, God said the creation was “very good”.
The garden of Eden was the abode God had made for man, in addition, the crowning event of the day was when God, the Creator walked into the garden to have fellowship with man- both male and female. Man looked at woman and woman looked at man and all they saw was perfection.
There was no cause for accusation even with the thorough openness they experienced. But things changed when God’s Word was rejected and man fell prey to satan’s antics through his (man’s) own cravings.
Suddenly, the beautiful “bone of my bones” had become a cause for stumbling , a creature of offense. When questioned by God about his disobedience, Adam was quick to cast his accusations, saying: “…it was the woman You gave me…” (Genesis 3:12).
From that moment, the serpent (Satan) was meant to been in conflict with mortal man. God told the serpent that he would feed on dust all his days and definitely, Satan has only been able to move about the earth like a roaring lion seeking men (dust) whom to devour (Genesis 3:14; 1 Peter 5:8).
Really looking at the issue at the garden, we can tell who the real villain was, the serpent. But why did man begin accusing woman? It becomes obvious that the enemy can hide behind mortals and perpetuate crimes, while giving an impression of the human as the culprit.
However, since the fall, man became a very insecure creature so we can see why the first man born of woman by the name of Cain killed his brother and became the first human murderer of all time. He was full of insecurity, bitterness and hatred. These blinded him from knowing the real enemy that had disguised and deceived him to suspecting his mortal brother, Abel. Do you know that God told Cain that there was a real enemy desperately trying to pounce on him through sin? (Genesis 4:7). Cain failed to see the real enemy.
Learning From The Master
The serpent in the shadows
Let us look at the Master, Jesus Christ our Lord. His life shows us that His contention was not with any man. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. And more than that, to set in motion the Kingdom of God, His own Kingdom.
Jesus knew the works of Satan, the works of the flesh and the cares of the world. All of these operated through the fallen human nature and the Lord dealt with them to the very end.
When Peter was going to deny Lord Jesus, the Master told him clearly that it was going to be Satan sifting him (Peter) as wheat (Luke 22:31). Jesus never saw Peter as the enemy.
When Peter rebuked the Lord for prophesying His own crucifixion, Lord Jesus rebuked Satan openly to the surprise of all, whereas, Peter had spoken (Matthew 16:22-23). The Master also knew that Satan had captured Judas Iscariot’s heart to betray Him. The humans were never the enemy, Jesus knew that and so the Apostles learnt too.
There were enemies all around, but Lord Jesus knew ‘the enemy’, the criminal mastermind. He saw through the fog of plane humanity and bruised the serpent’s head. Deception was the name of the serpent’s game but Lord Jesus took the wind out of its sail. Each time the Master looked at his human critics with love, Satan bowed his head in shame because the Master took the mask off the human face and underneath lay the real enemy.
Continued in the next post.