Satan is less interested in making disciples that look like villains and more interested in making disciples that have the good and bad twisted together—for who would follow someone that they consider evil? This is a clever trick of the enemy, because it often causes us to fight good things. For when the day comes that we realize in hindsight that someone was a villain, we immediately go on to villanize all of their teaching—even though some of it may have been good.
For example, so many are against the care of the poor because of the socialist, liberalist, or communist villains attached to the topic throughout history. Yet from a gospel standpoint, when you see a poor person today, Jesus says, “That’s me! What are you going to do about it?” And it is upon Jesus that we must ground our truth about the poor—because for Christians, truth is a person, not a rulebook.
When we decide to ignore the poor because a villain endorsed caring for them, we actually focus our eyes upon the villain’s twisted teaching instead of Jesus’ truth. Whereas if we would look upon Jesus, he would tell us, of course, to care for the poor—for He is the poor.
Satan is all about the twisting. He quotes God’s good teaching to Adam and Eve and then twists it. He quotes Scripture to Jesus and then twists it. Obviously God’s words and Scripture are not evil—it’s the twisting upon it that is evil. It’s the blending of the good with the bad. It’s the masquerading as an angel of light. It’s the watering down of a strong drink just enough that we won’t notice. It’s not the instrument that is off, but the musician playing it. Therefore, we must not post a villain label on every thought that sounds like some other thought. Taking care of the poor isn’t socialism or liberalism or communism—it’s Jesus. The real problem is if Jesus’ truth about the poor has gotten twisted somewhere.
We often pray for the miraculous giftings of the Holy Spirit—prophecy, healing, miracles—but the gifting the American church needs now more than ever is discernment. Not only so we can see the twists in the world, but especially so we can see the twists in ourselves.