The Devil’s Job

This blog now contains more than 550 posts. The post below first appeared on June 28, 2013. I am sharing it again because it is appropriate for us  to carry with us as we close out a period of incendiary political battles – which has divided communities, churches, families, and friends.

“The devil’s secret is camouflage. The devil’s job is to look very moral! It has to look like we are defending some great purpose or cause, like “making the world safe for democracy” or “keeping the bad people off the streets.” Then you can do many evils without any guilt, without any shame or self-doubt, but actually with a sense of high-minded virtue. Evil must disguise itself as good, says St. Thomas Aquinas, and until Christians start understanding that, their capacity for “discernment of spirits” (1 Corinthians 12:10) remains very minimal. They are easily duped and always misled by such devils” (Fr. Richard Rohr, adapted from Spiral of Violence: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil).

Don’t we all know this at some level?

And don’t we all attempt, consciously or subconsciously, to veil this sordid little secret when it is in our best interest?

Perhaps a good soul-training exercise would be to examine each belief we are very passionate about – especially political or theological stances – to see how much of our justification of that principle is the devil’s camouflage and how much follows the teachings and example of Jesus.

  • How many of our denominational differences would stand that scrutiny?
  • How many of local and national ordinances and laws would  we stop arguing about if we really understood why we are fighting for or against them?
  • How often would I have to tick off the “self-interest” or “need to control” boxes if I really looked under the devil’s camouflage for my true motives?

Just asking . . . .

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