You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. -- John 8:44
Most of the time I try not to get too subjective. I try to stay objective, to look at things from a wider view than just how I feel about it or how it affects me. I don't mean to imply that I am able to do that cleanly, but I try. This means that I try not to attribute the worst possible motives to what other people do. When I read the words of Jesus to those who were attacking Him, my first impulse is to think He is engaging in a rhetorical rebuttal trying to bring those people to their senses. But I don't think Jesus goes for the hyperbolic much. When God speaks, that's the way it is. He literally cannot overstate His case.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).
I suppose I am a stranger in a strange land because I find Paul's statement to be very reassuring. The real nature of our very real war is spiritual. It works itself out on the material plane sure enough, but there's no need to get too concerned about the temporal, visible aspects. If we take care of the actual, the derivative will take care of itself.
There is no reason to ever expect your enemy to admit that you are right. There is no reason to think that "the spiritual forces of evil" will ever concede. The great error of "good" people is thinking that going about their business is all that is required, that battling evil is radical or unnecessary. The truth is that you and I are in a war from the moment we enter the womb, whether we like it or not, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. The physical face of the enemy changes from time to time, but "the cosmic powers over this present darkness" remain — eternal, cold, and relentless as the blackness between the stars.
As Peter said, Jesus " went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him". He was not oppressing people. He was not making people sick. He was not doing anything bad or objectionable. Yet there were people who wanted to kill Him. This only makes sense if we realize that breaking through illusions is the way that the powers of darkness and evil are defeated. Illusions are lies, and they are destroyed by the truth. The devil cannot attack the truth directly. It is simply not possible. Instead he attacks the motives and integrity of the individual messenger. In the case of Jesus, when the agents of Satan could find no other accusation, they became indignant that Jesus healed people on the Sabbath, as if speaking a word or touching someone were a violation of the Mosaic injunction. The ridiculousness of the accusation is lost in the vehemence of the attack.
We can see the same thing today. Turn on the radio, watch a news program on television, listen — if you can endure it — to the arguments of the leftists, and you will hear the "passion" of their arguments. According to them, people like me hate homosexuals because we are against gay marriage. We hate black and poor people because we want to require a photo identification for voting. We hate Mexicans because we think that a nation's borders should be secure. I can expose any of these lies, but let me pick on homosexuals.
One of my wife's cousins is a homosexual man. I have known him for decades. We used to get drunk together. I love the guy and consider him a good friend. His father, my wife's uncle, was kind of a jerk. I think my friend suffered because of that. I think there are a number of reasons why he was drawn to homosexuality. I certainly do not object to him having a happy and fulfilling life. Here's the problem — he is not going to have a happy life. He is going to suffer the consequences and the torment of pursuing an illusion.
The proponents of gay marriage will point to "successful" homosexuals, like Elton John, but fame and money can buy a lot of pain killers, a lot of mind-numbing. Even the most contented homosexuals often contend with addictions and over-indulgence trying to maintain the illusion and keep out the truth. Like adultery or any other kind of sexual immorality, there is a price to pay for the pleasure. Homosexuals frequently pay it in a very physical way with the break down of their immune system. I am not willing to accept that an Elton John or an Ellen Degeneres would not be happier living a straight, moral and godly life. They would be filled with joy and peace once the lies in their lives were exposed and driven out. That's not to even point out that for every apparently happy "gay" person there are a thousand living in daily anguish and torment in the depths of their souls. It is because I love people like my friend that I am opposed to sanctioning homosexuality. I am equally against infidelity in marriage and sex outside of marriage for heterosexuals. I am opposed to the idea of divorce. And it is all for the same reason — it is based on lies.
I don't have to go out and personally, physically keep people from committing sexual sins because I think it is wrong. I am quite confident that God has the power to deliver people from their bondage if they are willing to accept the truth. If they want to cling to the lies, that's not my problem. Yet, despite all that I have just said, despite that obviously caring tone, despite the liberty that is implied, a person from the other side will read it and call me "intolerant" and "a hater". Why? Because I am telling the truth. The Spirit of God witnesses to my words and to my love in the heart of my opponent, and he or she feels compelled to attack me. I will be labeled intolerant, not for doing anything to anyone, actually interfering in another person's life, but for holding to and expressing a point of view — a truthful point of view.
Though I use homosexuality as an easy example, the battle has many fronts, be it social issues, economic issues, education, families, oppressive governments, political corruption, and on and on. I confess that I have all too often felt overwhelmed. I have retreated into complacency and apathy. I have insulated myself with innocuous diversions and isolated myself with petty pleasures while saying that I am not able to do anything. In other words, I have embraced a lie of false peace. Real peace is in the battle on the front line.
Now where did I put my belt?