2 Corinthians 11: 14-15 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (15) So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
Jack’s wife Mary was in the pastor’s office. Apparently there had been some kind of spat between them and she had come to the pastor to tell him about it. Jack was one of the finest Christian men in the whole church – everyone knew that. If you wanted something done, Jack was the go-to guy. What a servant’s heart! But now here was Mary – visibly troubled, haltingly sharing a few details of what had happened last night. Jack, she said, had been in a rage. He pushed her down hard onto the bed and told her to sit there and shut up and listen to him until he was through!
Depending upon the initial response Mary gets from her pastor, she will tell him more, or she will tell him nothing else. Abuse victims “test the waters,” whether they realize this is what they are doing or not. If they know that their hearer is open to listening and appears to believe them, they will tell more. If, however, they hear “Well, Mary, your husband is a fine Christian man, and I am sure that he loves you. He must be under a lot of stress for him to lose his temper like that. Did you say anything that would set him off?” – then forget it. She is done talking.
Let’s assume in this case that something unusual happens – the pastor listens to her and at least is willing to consider what she is saying is true. So she goes on.This is not the first time this has happened, she says. In fact, it happens a lot. Mary and her children live in fear. And Jack has threatened her more than once that if she ever talks about “what goes on in this family” to anyone, she will be sorry.
Why should such a thing surprise and confuse us as much as it seems to? Oh, I recognize that it is no fun thing to learn something like this about a person whom you thought to be a model Christian (that is a foolish thing for any of us to think of one another, by the way. I certainly am no “model” to be held up on a pedestal – and I bet you aren’t either!). But really, why should we find something like this so difficult to believe. Our Lord warns us over and over in Scripture that Satan is incredibly deceptive. That he is able to come right in among us (as Judas did) in his sheep disguise, or in his angel of light/servant of righteousness get-up. What do we think all of this means? It means that the “Jacks” in our churches are children of the devil, in spite of the disguise they have sold us on. HIS servants. Do you see that little phrase? So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Who is “his”? His is him – Satan! The Apostle Paul is telling us that the servants of Satan infiltrate the body of Christ in angelic disguises of light. So DON’T be surprised!
Apparently, we don’t really believe that this could happen to us. Today. In OUR churches. But it does. It is. And one of the favorite disguises is an abuser, who hates Christ and hates the people of Christ, including his victim, convincing his church and pastor that he is a fine, holy, eminent saint. If we will open our eyes to this tactic, then we will start understanding, for the first time, just who “Jack” really is! There, seated before you in that committee or board meeting, is the enemy. That one standing in the pulpit praying so piously or greeting people at the door every Sunday morning year after year – is not who he appears to be. How do you know? His wife comes and tells you. Finally, because she can’t see him abusing her children anymore.
What will you do? Pastor? Christian? What will you do? So it is no surprise if his servants…. Will you be surprised? Shocked? So that you just can’t believe it? Or will you be wise in God’s Word and recognize the thing for what it is? Only then will you be prepared to deal with Jack in truth and righteousness – and effect justice for his victim – to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.