Satan’s Gifts #1
Perhaps one of the devil’s greatest (and by great I don’t mean good, I mean big) gifts to us is the ability to rationalize. We begin by knowing something is not right, and then our genius minds do a series of gymnastic exercises and suddenly, BAM, it’s right! Here’s how I see this work in my life.
Wow, Bobby (fictional person, for the record) really pissed me off today! I can’t believe he told me my shirt doesn’t match my pants. What does he know about fashion anyway? I can’t wait to tell Michelle about this. I probably shouldn’t put him down though. But he was an idiot, and besides I need to debrief with someone. I’m not really putting him down, I’m just telling a story. It’s kind of funny. Yeah, that’s it, it’s just a funny story. Hey Michelle, listen to this…
Unfortunately that’s a tame example. And as destructive as rationalizing my sin can be, I think there’s another way I rationalize that’s worse. It’s when I am convinced by Scripture about how radical following Jesus is supposed to be and then I find ways to explain to myself why it isn’t really that radical.
Here’s a for instance…In Luke 14:12-14 Jesus tells a Pharisee that when he has a luncheon he should invite those who cannot repay him (the poor, crippled, lame, and blind) in lue of his rich and important friends. Who do we have over for dinner and parties? Friends of similar means to us. Those who can fend for themselves. But that’s who we know (here goes the rationalizing). We can only invite the people we know, right? Plus, I can’t just go inviting strangers, I need to make sure my family is safe and I know who’s coming into our house. People will think I’m wierd if I invite them for dinner. That doesn’t happen much in our culture anymore. Plus, it will be so uncomfortable. What would we talk about? It’s just too hard.
And there it is. That Scripture no longer applies to me. I do this all the time. I use the brain God has given me to talk myself out of being who he wants me to be and doing what he wants me to do. That’s why I say the rationalizing is a gift from Satan (not a good gift). He took something God made good and helps me use it for ungodly things.
We can talk ourselves out of all kinds of difficult things we’re called to as followers of Christ. But we shouldn’t. For our sake, the church’s sake, and the sake of the world we need to start taking Jesus at his word, admitting we don’t want to do some things, and ask God to change us instead of finding ways to explain why he’s not really asking.