I was researching to try to understand the Biblical concept of “demon”. Not that I care about demons. But I was trying to understand the verse where Jesus says this type only comes out by prayer and fasting. So in that context, I ended up learning more about the concept of the fallen angel, satan – as we understand him.

Some stories say he kept himself so dedicated to God that God raised him up to a very high height. Then God told him to humble himself before Adam. Satan refused to humble himself because he thought of himself as better than Adam.

In doing so, his true heart was revealed: although he appeared to be concerned about God, at some point he was really quite proud of how great he thought he was. Having been created from what he perceived as better, he looked down on Adam and was therefore cast down. Even literally, on the ground.

What is fascinating to me is the warning for those, including myself, who claim to seek Christ: that we can start out well, quite sure we are elevating the God we love. Only to end up actually more fond of ourselves. Thinking the good we see in ourselves makes us better than those we see as less than us. Making gods of ourselves in our minds.

What ramifications does this have in terms of forgiveness? Is this why forgiving others is so important? James says confessing our shortcomings to each other and praying for each other will bring our healing. That sounds like humility to me.

I’m pretty sure James means praying for the good of others, even those who have hurt us. Versus praying for their annihilation. Are we, who think we are so close to God, actually that older brother of the prodigal – incorrectly justifying ourselves based on our good works? Rather than on Whose we are – of no effort of our own. Seems critical to pursue further.

Interestingly, Jesus came in humility from the very beginning and humbled Himself to our will. We wanted to kill Him because He didn’t do our will. Whew! Mind-blowing thought.

We wanted a King to destroy others – those that hurt us. And He came to destroy that in us. To show His redeeming love for everyone. The opposite of the heart I find in myself sometimes.

If all this Jesus stuff just leads to me being puffed up then that is demonic. Who do I think I am better than? Who do I hate? Who do I refuse to humble myself to? I always want to be the accuser of others, but where is satan in me? Where in me do I find the same basic evil that I so despise in others? Do I hold myself to the same standard that I crucify others on?

Am I following the example of The One I claim to praise and adore? He did not count His actual goodness and position gain, but humbled Himself for His beloved: who repeatedly and violently disrespected who He was.

Am I making myself sick because of pride manifested as unforgiveness?

I am not saying we should enable others to abuse us. But can we start to humble ourselves by even praying for the good of those that have hurt us? That they will change for the better versus being destroyed to satisfy our desire for the justice we want for them versus the mercy and understanding we want for ourselves? Can we pray to see the same broken child in them that resides in us? Not to excuse bad behavior but to diffuse the damaging power of the monster and cancer we casually name Bitterness.

Lord, please help us.

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