Having been a Christian the majority of my life, I find it almost embarrassing to admit: I have only just begun to hate Satan.
Until this point I had only found him mildly annoying - like a bee buzzing in your ear that won't go away, or a mosquito caught extracting your blood who then leaves you with an obnoxious itch that lingers awhile.
I mean, I certainly didn't like the guy. He's the enemy of my Lord, so of course I'm not in his fan club, nor do I want anything to do with him. But I'd also fallen into the trap of otherwise dismissing him.
I had been told before, as a very true fact, that we, as Christians, tend to give Satan too much credit. He, as many would tell it, is the source for all the annoyances in life. When our mission trip flight is canceled, or we're stuck in traffic on the way to church, or our printer dies just when we need it to print the most important document we'll ever need (or, you know, a coupon, whatever). That's Satan. Oh, that pesky little devil. There are even moments, like when traveling and caught in a snow storm in a tiny little vehicle not meant for this kind of weather, we get so egotistical as to think, "Maybe Satan is trying to stop me from getting there because something important is going to happen." Because, of course, I'm so important that it's going to snow across three states and cause a 27 car pile-up on a different portion of road just because Satan wants to frustrate me. Unlikely. Plus, I'm not certain, but I'm not sure he can control the weather. He's not God.
Which, of course, is what this whole mess is about. He's so selfish. That pesky little devil.
But when I'm sitting across from a precious friend opening for me the depths of her soul and the struggles of her flesh, and I am recognizing that these conclusions to which she has come are the direct result of lies whispered in her ear, I hate him. For the very first time, I hate him. I want to drop-kick his ugly face. About fifty-seven times in a row.
Because I've heard his lies before - the ones that say I'm not good enough, or I've failed, or no one truly cares. But those ones are generally pretty easy to pick out. They are so contrary to what I have been told, by people and by God, that, though they mess with me for a moment, or a day, or even a week, I can eventually weed them out and overcome them with Truth.
But when he takes the God-given gifts and attributes given to a beautiful sister - characteristics made to show the very essence of our Creator - and twists them for his purposes, causing doubt and confusion, the kind that wreaks havoc to the very soul and the kind that has turned an entire culture in the complete opposite direction of who they were made to be and how they were made to view a love like no other, the very unconditional love of an all-powerful God, that plain pisses me off (excuse my Baptist-girl version of language, but this is what happens when I'm angry).
And I can hear her words and see a light shed on controversy that has shattered our culture, is changing our laws and has left everyone questioning what we have been told, both in church and out of it. It's all a lie. And Satan is so pleased with himself.
Because maybe he can't control the weather, but he can surely whisper into our ears. And a whisper that is a tiny portion of truth enshrouded in lies is infinitely more devastating than canceled flight, an empty ink cartridge or a slippery road with traction-less wheels.
Yet he has made us so comfortable in our annoyance that we barely even notice the buzz anymore. And we don't hate him. We dislike him. We bat him away. Sometimes we fear him. But we don't hate.
And an enemy we don't hate is an enemy we don't fight.
Annoyance makes us keep our distance. Fear can cripple and gives power to the one from whom we cower.
Hate drives us to action.
It makes us pick up that weapon and swing with all our might.
And we need to fight.
We need to fight not only for ourselves, but for our sister who struggles with who she was created to be and for our church who has been lulled to indifference.
And as we fight, we must remember always, "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).
People are not our enemy. Not even those who disagree with us or accuse us with the voices of darkness. We battle not with verbal attacks or empassioned diatribes, but on our knees, "with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17). And we fight as though this is a life or death battle, not for our own lives, but for those of our sisters and brothers, as well as those who are not yet protected by the shield of faith or the helmet of salvation.
Let him hear your battle cry. And let him be the one to cower in fear.