2 Corinthians 2:10-11 If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven–if there was anything to forgive–I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
It strikes me that many Christians and many churches are remarkably unaware of Satan’s schemes. We have so caricatured him into a cartoon figure that it seems few people really believe he exists, and yet the New testament speaks several times of him as an active, malicious enemy. (1 Peter 5:8, etc.) His first trick in these days is to get us not to believe he’s around and out to get us! When he succeeds in that, we let down our guard and he does all sorts of mischief. We aren’t to be so afraid of him that we forget that the One who is in us is far greater than he is. (1 John 4:4) However, we also are not to forget that he comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) In this passage Paul is speaking of the devil trying to steal our peace and unity by convincing us not to forgive. We need to remember that he is “a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) I’m reminded of a few lines I wrote many years ago:
Satan is a liar,
that I know full well,
and every word he speaks to me
comes from the pit of hell.
We are not to so focus on the devil and demons to the point that we lose sight of Jesus. There are some who seem to do that! However, we are certainly not to walk in blind ignorance of the devil and his schemes, just as Paul references here.
I’ve been deceived and tripped up by the devil myself, more times than I have been aware. However, any time I do become aware that has happened, my first response must be repentance, and an active surrendering of myself and the situation to the Lord. (1 John 1:9) When I do that, then God takes it all and turns it around and uses it for good. (Romans 8:28) It would have been better had I not fallen, but it isn’t the end of the line that I did fall. My mouth has gotten me into a lot of trouble, speaking words that wounded rather than building up, and words spoken cannot be retrieved. I need to be increasingly aware of such traps to avoid them, speaking light and life and never lending my mouth to the liar.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me walk in this awareness at all times, doing Your will and Yours alone, acting as Your agent in forgiving and healing and lifting people up, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!