We live in a very volatile world. Just a quick glance at the news evidences the prevalence of evil on a global scale. As we sit back, helpless, and watch all the atrocities people commit against each other, it is very natural to look for someone to blame for all this horror. Sometimes we vilify a political leader, pointing to his or her poor executive skills as the cause of suffering; perhaps we malign a religious group, or a certain ethnicity; or, most commonly, we defame the very person who instigated the latest horror, using every insult in our arsenal to express our outrage. When we let loose our tongues and rail against any of these individuals, we are participating in a practice that has come to be referred to as “bashing.” Regardless of how justified any of the accusations may be, Christians have no business bashing anyone. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:31, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” No matter how frustrated a politician, a friend, a co-worker, or a criminal makes us, it is our responsibility to maintain control of our tongues and continue to think of that individual as a soul no better than ourselves…and no worse.
No matter how frustrated a politician, a friend, a co-worker, or a criminal makes us, it is our responsibility to maintain control of our tongues and continue to think of that individual as a soul no better than ourselves…and no worse.
However, although it is completely inappropriate to bash other people—no matter what they’ve done—I believe there is one being we are given free rein to bash: Satan. Since the devil’s nature puts him directly in conflict with the purpose of God (1 John 3:8), Satan is our only true adversary—and he is out to get us (1 Peter 5:8)! When we acknowledge Satan as the source of the problem, we not only place the blame where it should rest, we also gain an eternal perspective that can be helpful when combatting the wickedness in this world—that is, people aren’t the enemy; Satan is. So when bad things happen, don’t bash the President, the bystanders, or the perpetrator—bash Satan! Use your words: cite the devil as the ultimate source of this horror, and praise God for His promise to defeat him. But don’t stop there! Certainly, bashing Satan verbally is fitting; however, there’s a more effective way, a way that not only acknowledges the problem, but also works to rectify it. Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” That is, don’t stop at simply refusing to be overcome verbally; actively overcome evil with good by bashing Satan in what you do. Here are some points to consider as we all strive to bash the devil:
Bash Satan by letting go of your anger.
A little before Paul tells us to watch our words, in Ephesians 4:26-27, he writes, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil a place.” Don’t allow your emotions to distract you from eternity! It’s natural for us to become angry when life doesn’t go our way—but Satan would like nothing better than to take that anger and use it to turn us against God or other people so that he can worm his way into our hearts. When you become angry, remember who you’re really fighting—and fight back by reining in your temper.
Bash Satan by turning to God for forgiveness when you mess up.
After James accuses his audience of playing the harlot with the world, James then reminds them of the grace of God. He admonishes them in James 4:7-8, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Nothing pleases the devil more than watching people despair of their own worth and give up on God, so don’t give Satan the satisfaction! To use a common phrase, “If you mess up, ’fess up”—and then move on to doing the things God intended for you to do. Wallowing in your sin just keeps you in the mire—exactly where Satan wants you to be.
Bash Satan by offering the Gospel to everyone.
In the middle of his second letter to Timothy, Paul encourages the younger preacher not to allow personal differences to prevent Timothy from sharing the truth. In 2 Timothy 2:23-26, Paul writes, “But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition…[that] they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” Stereotypes and prejudices are some of Satan’s most powerful tools, and he utilizes them daily to trick people into thinking God is only looking for “good” people, effectively lessening the number of people who will hear, obey, and spread the Gospel. Satan wants people to remain lost; foil his plans by letting go of your prejudice and offering the Good News to everyone.
Satan wants people to remain lost; foil his plans by letting go of your prejudice and offering the Good News to everyone.
Bash Satan by forgiving all.
When it comes down to it, what’s the root of each of the problems listed above? It’s a lack of forgiveness! We hold onto our anger because we aren’t willing to forgive those who angered us; we hold onto our sin because we aren’t willing to forgive ourselves; we withhold the Gospel from certain people because we aren’t willing to forgive their personality flaws. Does it look like Satan can work with an unforgiving heart? Absolutely! That’s why Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 2:10-11, “…[I]ndeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” If the devil can keep us from extending or accepting forgiveness, he keeps us from extending or accepting salvation. Don’t let him do this! Muster up all your courage, beat the devil over the head, and forgive!
If the devil can keep us from extending or accepting forgiveness, he keeps us from extending or accepting salvation. Don’t let him do this! Muster up all your courage, beat the devil over the head, and forgive!
In the first half of Romans 16:20, Paul encourages his recipients by promising them, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Isn’t that an amazing thought? Don’t waste your time trampling on the names or the reputations of people, no matter how much you think they deserve it (if we’re being honest, we all deserve it); trample the devil! Bash Satan with your words—bash Satan by letting go of your anger—bash Satan by dealing responsibly with sin—bash Satan by shunning prejudice—and bash Satan by forgiving. Yes, it’s a wicked world—because Satan has influenced it. But just because he’s evil doesn’t mean you can’t do good…so do good and bash the devil!
by Abigail Buchanan