Under Every Bush and Around Every Corner

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” CS Lewis

The writings of C.S. Lewis are rich with truth and are so very practical. When we adopt an unbalanced view of evil we become ineffective and incapacitated when it comes to doing good. And when Christ's followers are ineffective and incapacitated, they are right where the devil wants them.

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All of mankind was made in the image of God and because of that, I believe there is an innate ability to sense evil. Some of us say we get "bad vibes" or a bad "gut feeling" about something. Those feelings are a gift that keep us safe from dangerous people or situations. But sometimes, we can become so consumed with assuming something evil we call the wrong things or the wrong people evil and that attitude is damaging and dangerous.

My husband and I do not consume alcohol. Like many families, alcoholism once nearly destroyed our family and we have chosen to not let it have a place in our home or lives. I do not believe alcohol is evil nor do I believe that people who drink are given over to evil. It's a personal choice that we have made and it comes with no judgement of anyone else. Can alcohol become problematic for someone or their family? Of course. Is it a problem for everyone? No. Can alcohol be used in an evil way to tear apart relationships? Yes. Is every relationship ruined by drinking? No.

I would likely lose many dear friends and bring about strife in my community if I chose to call out everyone who drinks for being associated with evil. Furthermore, I would ruin my witness of Christ's redeeming love in my life and the life of my family. We keep our choice to ourselves because it's a private, personal decision that is best for us. The beauty of a grace filled life is that we have freedom to make choices for ourselves from what God has taught us and possibly help someone but we are also not required to put those choices upon others.

The quote from C.S. Lewis came from the preface of his book, The Screwtape Letters. A book about devils and their influence in the world and their influence on the human race. Even well meaning, God-loving individuals can be unknowingly influenced to bring about harm while trying to point out evil. Having a sensitive spirit is a gift but all of our gifts need to be used carefully and with balanced concern for others.

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