(July 22, 2014)
As I read this chapter, particular the discussion of the chains of Hell and being led captive by the Devil, it again prompted me to think on why Satan behaves the way that he does. After all, he must know that he is going to lose. Perhaps he could have thought to have had a chance at winning (if he could induce Christ to sin, and thus fail at His mission), but when the veil of the temple was rent and Christ called out that it was finished, and God received Him back, then the War in Heaven was over. Victory was assured.
And yet, like some of the islands in the Pacific at the end of World War II, there are still those pockets of resistance that seek to overturn the end result of the war. Just as with those islands, the fighting that goes on today has no capacity to affect the outcome of the entire war, and yet the battle rages on. The foot soldiers (you and I) in this war on both sides perhaps cannot always see clearly the end of this course of action, but the generals (Satan) must. He must know not only that he is going to lose, but that he has already lost. So why continue fighting?
The only reason that I can see for this behavior is that Satan has reached a point of such hatred that he is willing to destroy himself just to bring sorrow to those around him. I can remember when I was a moody, obnoxious teenager. My parents had yelled at me for something (almost certainly my fault), and sent me to my room. I can recall laying on my bed, full of rage, and thinking to myself, “I know – I could commit suicide. That would show them – they would really feel guilty after that.”
That was how irrational my anger was. I didn’t care what happened to me, so long as I hurt my ‘oppressor.’ Satan, I imagine, must be in a similar mental condition as I was in that day – all he has left is hate and anger and the desire for revenge. I think we make a mistake when we apply to Satan rationality – he is intelligence, but I do not believe that he is rational (or, at least, not pursuing his rational self-interest).
Of course, this is all theoretical and means little until we apply it to ourselves. In what way, then, are we the same as Satan? Do we seek to hurt our enemies, even when doing so hurts us or those we love? Another name for Satan is the “Accuser” – do we level accusations at others, ignorant (or uncaring) about the damage that our unwillingness to forgive causes our own souls because of our overwhelming desires to hurt others? In some ways, I think that is the reason why our unwillingness to forgive is such a profound and significant sin (no matter what has happened to us, unwillingness to forgive that sin places a greater sin in us – a huge, huge statement). When we do not forgive, we emulate Satan in willing to destroy ourselves in order to damage (as we suppose) another. We become his children because we walk his path.
There are other ways this happens, I am certain. It is therefore important when we consider what we do whether we are emulating the path of Christ or of Satan – because that will determine who’s future we will also receive.