November 20 (Mark 5:7-8)
With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you
interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg
you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come
out of the man, you evil spirit.” (ESV)
Most people do not want to seem rude. We want to get along with others and for people to like us. This natural tendency merges with the Bible’s talk about loving each other, and before you know it we have compromised biblical truth for conflict-free relationships. We think we are “loving people to Jesus” when we fail to speak the truth.
When Jesus came upon a man possessed by multiple demons, He did not smile and accept his lifestyle. He did not wish him well privately as he went on about His business. His business, it turned out, was confronting the evil directly. Did that cause the man discomfort? Apparently it did, for he begged Jesus not to torture him. He even invoked the name of God. Had this happened today, he may well have said, “A real Christian wouldn’t make me feel bad about my condition.”
Of course, Jesus did not make the man feel bad about his condition. In fact, Scripture says that He had addressed the evil spirit directly, not the man. It is important when confronting sin, whether in the lives of friends and family or in ourselves, that we make a distinction. Sin is evil. Our participation in it is wrong. The joy of forgiveness can belong to anyone who acknowledges this and accepts the healing grace of Jesus Christ.
Father, help me break the false identity that I am my sin. Create in me that new heart capable of knowing, without a doubt, that I am Your child by the blood of Jesus. Grant me the boldness that comes from walking in the Holy Spirit to confront sin with the truth and the true love of Jesus. Amen.
Copyright © 2016 by Steven R. Perkins