Sue Sweeney - October 1, 2017


Empathy for the Devil

We work to strike a healthy balance between faith, family, work and all the other elements of our lives. But Jezebel's story shows us that God doesn't ask for balance; God asks for allegiance. How can we seek God first - and why is that good for everything else in our lives?

From Series: "Empathy for the Devil"

We don't give the people we consider villains a second thought. They were born rotten, destined for evil from day one. But if we take another look at some of the most infamous villains of all time, we may find they're more human than we thought. We may see ourselves in their reflection. We might find we're walking the path of villainy - and once we see that, we can turn toward God's life!

Discussion Guide     Manuscript

More From "Empathy for the Devil"

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My girls are pretty much the most precious things that have ever existed. I know y’all agree with me. In addition to being their mother, I also work full time for the Richardson school district and I spent 8 years as a classroom teacher.

Last month, the worst thing that could ever happen to a person like me who is a parent and also a teacher…happened.

I was at work, in a meeting, minding my own business and I received this message on my phone from Stella’s 1st grade teacher:

Stella is not following directions in the class. Please talk with her this evening.

Um, excuse me? The teacher must have gotten my child confused with someone else. Literally my first thought was, “this is a case of mistaken identity. She sent this message to the wrong parent.”

Surely this cannot be, right? MY sweet little princess, Stella. Whose mom was a teacher, whose Grandmommy was a teacher, whose aunt is a teacher?

Stella has been persistently reminded since her birth by three important family members to always listen to her teachers and follow their directions.

What. Is. Happening?

I sent a few clarifying questions to the teacher and discovered, that my worst nightmare had indeed come true. Stella was not listening to her teacher and following directions.

And a hot rush of shame and embarrassment washed over me.

This happens to me a lot, actually. I let the things my children do embarrass me sometimes because I view these things as personal failures on my part. I’m quick to view their behavior as a direct reflection of me. Sometimes, I want people to think I’m perfect. I want people to respect what I say and I want my family to have financial success and our way of life to feel secure.

I come by this honestly because this is what our culture expects of me. This is what the world expects of me.

I want people to believe that my religious life and my everyday life are in balance. I want to live my life according to what it means to be a Christian, but I don’t want to be so into my faith that people think I’m some kind of weirdo.

I want to be the person God wants me to be, but I also want to be the person the world wants me to be. I want to live out my God-given calling, but I also want power in the form of respect, security, and success.

You probably feel like this too.

There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be more powerful. The problem is when we put a desire for worldly power first and make God second place.

We want this life God has promised us, but not when it’s in opposition with what the world tells us we should want.

We want what the world says is the “good life” and what God says is the “good life.” So we try to balance the two.

Let’s talk about the problem with this balancing act. We have two feet, one foot in living out what the world wants and one foot in living out what God wants, but we find we cannot straddle between the two. We cannot find our balance.

The Good News is, we don’t need to be balanced at all. It’s actually better if we just throw this whole balancing act out the window.

Join us Sunday as we learn how to reject balance for the life God wants to give us.

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