Gal 4:17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.
Jud 1:16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.
The Bible contains massive amounts of instruction about the wicked. About their motives and their tactics. We are told that Satan is a murderer and a liar who sneaks in among us in an angel of light disguise. Wicked people will arise from among us, as Paul warned the Ephesians. The spirit of the antichrist is at work now and when THE Antichrist appears, much of his energies will be given to deception.
Over the years, particularly in my nearly 40 years of pastoral ministry, I have often failed to understand that the enemy IS an enemy. That is to say, I have explained away many of the more deceptive, confusing, disguised attacks as being far less than they really were. I overlooked. I excused. He was having a bad day. She is a Christian but is just a difficult person who requires my patience. He did this and that thing, said this or that troubling statement, but all in all he is a brother in Christ. So I overlooked. I excused. I even defended these kind of people when others took notice of their behavior. “Well she means well.” “Yes, I know, he has his glitches.”
What was my problem? My problem was I did not know the real nature and intent of such people. I thought I knew them, but I did not. I did not comprehend, nor did I even want to understand, that this kind of person was in fact acting very intentionally and willfully. I did not understand that he/she was an enemy. A narcissist. A sociopath. A person demanding to be worshipped and served and who punished anyone who they perceived had failed to deliver that worship and service. I did not understand, in other words, that I was actually dealing with a wicked person.
Dan 3:5-6 that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. (6) And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.”
I think most all of you will identify with me in this. You did not know your enemy. You didn’t even know he/she was your enemy. You didn’t understand that the “troubling” things that confused you, hurt you, abused you – were in fact being done quite intentionally for your harm and for the exaltation of abuser. As a result, you continued on in relationship, very often for years and years, because you did not grasp the nature of your opponent. You could not grasp the reality that the evil being unleashed on you was coming from a person who never did love you, who had no conscience, who wore a masterful disguise before others – and you plugged your ears to any suggestion that something was not quite right here.
This is why we experience a huge flood of emotions when, as we say, “the lights begin to come on.” Those emotions might begin with anger or grief, but eventually a sense of incredible validation sweeps over us. “I wasn’t to blame after all.” “I was right when I had thoughts that something in this relationship was very wrong.” See it? We cannot wisely deal with an enemy if we do not understand that he is our enemy.
And this is why churches and fellow Christians so often become unwitting allies to the wicked. THEY don’t understand evil either. They think they do, but they do not. “He is a brother in Christ and though he sins we must forgive him and be patient with him.” True, for the “normal” Christian. But as for the wicked who parades as a Christian, the truth begins with understanding the true evil nature of the counterfeit who has, as Jude says, crept in among us.
When we realize the truth, when the Lord opens our eyes, we also at some point come to the freeing truth that relationship with such a person in impossible. The wicked demand our enslavement. They insist that our only purpose is to serve them. And they punish any hint of “disobedience.”
Christ’s intent for His people has always been the same – He wants us out of Egypt. No matter how many “Christians” tell us that the Lord’s will is that we remain in Pharaoh’s country patiently enduring abuse, God’s Word tells us otherwise. Redemption. Freedom. Exodus. These are the things He gives us.
Your first step to this freedom is to know the Lord. None of us can ever truly be free of our ultimate abuser, the devil, as long as we are still in bondage to sin. You must be born again. We can read all the books on abuse in the world, we can come to know the tactics and motives of evil, but if we have not come to repentance and faith in Christ, we will not be indwelt and led by His Spirit. Even if an abuse victims gets free of his/her abuser, real freedom will still elude us if we remain a citizen of this world.