JR. Forasteros - October 15, 2017


Empathy for the Devil

We struggle to offer grace to people we feel don’t deserve it – which is, ironically, exactly who needs grace. Uncovering the true biblical origins of Satan helps us come face to face with this graceless impulse. It turns out, refusing to extend grace to others is what makes us truly Satanic. How can we choose to be a grace-filled people?

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!

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I was speaking at a pastors conference once about youth ministry. I had spent 45 minutes encouraging the pastors to think outside the box and – even more importantly – to trust their youth leaders. Some of the youth leaders had shared with me that they had tried to bring in “rock music” (by which they meant Christian worship bands like ours here at Catalyst), but their pastors often shut them down. I made a plea – if they want to bring in a rock band, let them try it!

There was a Q&A afterwards and immediately a pastor asked a question: “Why should I let rock music into my church if the beat of rock music summons demons?”

If that question surprises you, then you didn’t grow up in the Church in the late 80s/early 90s loving rock music.

Everyone from Kansas to AC/DC to yes the Rolling Stones was accused of being Satanic.

And why rock music? Well the arguments get pretty complicated (and hilarious), but they’re all ultimately rooted in a particularly origin story of the Devil that pretty much standardized in our culture:

The Devil was once an angel named Lucifer who was basically second in command of Heaven (some say he was the music leader, which is why he’s so into rock n roll). For some reason, he decided he should be God instead, so he led a rebellion, tried to take over heaven, and was cast into Hell. All this happened before anything else was created.

I’m guessing that sounds at least vaguely familiar to most of us.

But here’s the fascinating thing: that story isn’t in the Bible anywhere.

Bits and pieces of it are, but the whole thing isn’t anywhere.

And that’s actually sort of a big deal. Because we should take the Devil seriously. But the Devil’s mission isn’t to get us all hooked on sick guitar licks and double-kick drum. The Devil’s mission is to deceive us, to convince us that we are not worthy of God’s grace and to convince us that others aren’t either.

But to see that, we’re going to have to figure out what the Bible actually does say about Satan.

Even more than being about the Devil, today is about the God who overcomes him with the light of truth – the truth that we’re all loved and all given impossible, infinite grace that no one – not even the Devil – can take from us.

Join us Sunday as we learn how to extend grace especially to those who don’t deserve it.

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