“Gone are the days when it was safe for kids to ride their bikes outside unsupervised and come home when the street lights turn on…. things were different back then.”
Have you heard anyone say that recently? I’ve heard it way too many times. Yes, things were different. Before the technological era and the media frenzy that have taken over the world, things were simpler. I can totally see it. But evil is the same as it was when it first met with mankind in the Garden of Eden as it says in the book of Genesis. Is Satan “gaining ground” on us? No. I would say he takes two steps forward and three steps back. We just happen to live in a “two steps forward” era.
There’s a radio broadcast I love from Paul Harvey, recorded in 1965. Take the time to check it out on YouTube and listen to it when you have time. I highly encourage it!
In the meantime, this is what he says:
“If I were the devil. . . If I were the Prince of Darkness, I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I’d have a third of its real estate, and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — Thee. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first — I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please.’
To the young, I would whisper that ‘The Bible is a myth.’ I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is ‘square.’ And the old, I would teach to pray, after me, ‘Our Father, which art in Washington…’
And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.
If I were the devil I’d soon have families that war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames. If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions — just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.
Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography — soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches, I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money. If I were the devil I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.
If I were the devil I’d take from those who have, and give to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And what do you bet? I could get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich? I would caution against extremes and hard work, in patriotism, in moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on the TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure. In other words, if I were the devil I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing. Paul Harvey, good day.”
Though this was written over fifty years ago, it’s basically spot-on with modern culture. He says at the end that he would, “Just keep right on doing what he’s doing”. This tells me that over fifty years ago, we still had the same problems. Personally, I think we just looked at them differently.
Take smoking, for example. When I was a child, everyone still smoked inside of restaurants and coffee shops but not inside of schools. It wasn’t strange at all to go to Tim Hortons (Canadian!) and sit down with your coffee, doughnut and kids beside someone smoking. Now, the thought alone is enough to make me gag! Can you imagine? There weren't even any windows open!
It didn’t feel disgusting at the time. It felt normal.
Now, I’ve become so accustomed to not being around cigarettes I banned my husband from smoking around our children, in his car, before he kissed me, etc. (Presently, he’s doing very well quitting!).
When I was growing up, it wasn’t weird for a twelve-year-old to “smoke” with their friends (most of us only pretended to inhale). A child smoking that young would seem completely insane now because our culture has changed the conversation about smoking.
This is a good change. A healthy change. There are fewer smokers now than ever before but how often do we take the time to acknowledge it? [Source]
Two steps forward, three steps back.
If I Were the Devil
I’m going to do my own version of this because I think it’s ready for an updated amendment!
“If I were the devil… If I were the Prince of Darkness, I would convince the world I didn’t exist. That God is not real and the things you were told in Sunday School were only said to keep you in line. Because silliness is misbehaving and misbehaving is unacceptable, I would tell you your boys need to act more like girls, be more emotional, be quieter and sit still. I’d slowly destroy the art of communication by telling your girls to act more like boys, be tough, be strong, and not to talk about feelings or the boys will not like them and they will never be happy.
If I were the devil I’d get you hooked on the media and use them as my personal public relations representatives. I’d manipulate you with fear until you believed the world was so evil that no one could save you. I’d make sure you were afraid of airports, train stations and all other forms of travel. I would carry out acts of violence so unspeakably atrocious that no matter what God says, you’re too afraid to truly live.
If I were the devil I would eliminate Christmas altogether. I would convince you that each holiday should have a party, each party should have alcohol and family time is old fashioned. I would tell you to think for yourself because your parents don’t respect you until you believed that wisdom was no longer useful and senior citizens only drain your tax dollars.
Because they’re much easier for me to influence, I’d give you tools to stay connected to your peers at any time, anywhere in the world, and lead you to believe they are the only ones who truly understand you. I’d post pictures of your children, naked and perverted. I’d tell them it’s liberating to take your clothes off because God created you to be naked. I’d make sure every home had a daily dose of sex and nudity through television, movies, magazines or anything else I can get my hands on.
If I were the devil I’d convince men their wives ‘hold them back’ because having a wife is having a ‘ball and chain.’ I’d whisper adolescent girls are mature enough to consent to sex because after all, it’s ‘their body.’ I’d bombard men with photos of youth until they believe it’s the only thing attractive. I’d make wives insecure by convincing them through the media that their husbands will leave them for a younger, more attractive model if they don’t, ‘measure up.’ I’d fill buildings the size of a football stadium with expensive clothing, hair products, face products and all other products women ‘need’ to stay attractive and drain their family’s resources.
If I were the devil I would get men, women and children addicted to sex, drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, video games and anything else they’ll do compulsively. I would tell them it feels good to escape reality because the reality is life is hard and it’s not their fault. That their addiction is more a health issue than a lack of self-control while using the scientific community to convince them, ‘they’re powerless’ to stop their compulsion. I would use addiction to destroy relationships and health, and take all their money until they’re left feeling hopeless because of their ‘incurable weakness.’ In other words, if I were the devil I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing. Leah Grey, good day.”
I’m not saying life is not harder in many ways. What I hope you will see is that although everything is magnified, the basic problems are the same. The real difference is us. We are the most divided, angry, visceral generation to ever exist. Look at the way we handle politics! From my understanding, opposing opinions didn’t use to have a, “I’m going to kill you if you disagree with me” mentality. Certainly, there were riots. News articles. Anger. But as years go by, evil has slowly become more and more aggressive. Thankfully, God is the same.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
My ministry was born out of a desperate, broken place. But like a Phoenix rising, a message emerged and purpose was born. I found my identity in God and God took every mistake, every wrong turn and turned it into something not only beautiful but life-giving.
God only knows how to make healthy changes. He will never make a decision that is wrong for us and no matter what the enemy throws out, God will ultimately use it for His good because that’s just who He is.
God is a good guy.
Let’s Look at Life Differently
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
In life, there are twists and there are turns. There are roadblocks, sidewalks, bypasses and bridges. But whatever road we take, if we love God, it doesn’t matter. There is no wrong road with Him.
Our children will not always choose the “right” path but we, as praying parents, can pray they’re always on a road that is leading to Jesus.