Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dealing with unclean spirits, part 3: thinking before we speak

But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons."

But He knew their thoughts and said to them, "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? So they will be your judges. (Luke 11:15, 17-19 NASB)

Jesus had just cast out a demon from a man in whom it had caused muteness. When Jesus cast out the demon, the man began to speak. Some people were amazed by the miracle but some people said that His power came from Beelzebul (the devil). Jesus knew what they were thinking and responded to their poorly considered arguments. 

"If the kingdom of demons is involved in a civil war (divided against itself), how will it continue?" He asked. (This is the Leanna paraphrase) "If Satan is divided in a civil war against himself, how will his kingdom endure?" Jesus was telling them that their arguments didn't make sense. 

Their arguments were not only illogical, but, in their arguing against Jesus, they had failed to consider that their sons (or descendants) also cast out demons. "If I cast out demons by the power of Beelzebul, by what power do your sons cast them out?" Jesus was saying, "You need to think this argument through before you make it."

In their emotional response to Jesus, those arguing against Him had failed to thoroughly consider their argument to its natural conclusion. If what they said against Jesus were true, then it was also true against them, because they did much the same thing.

It is easy to respond to issues and current events in an emotional manner on the spur of the moment without thoroughly considering my rationale and without being adequately informed. When I do that, however, I look as foolish as the naysayers in Jesus' time, and am easily disputed. Instead, I need to do what my mama told me. Think before I speak.

Although we walk by faith and not by sight, we cannot simply attack the issues of our day without knowing truth. Mistaking quotes from Benjamin Franklin for Scripture is a common error, yet it makes us look foolish when we do so. Accepting inflammatory posts on social media without checking for their validity is another common error that incites us to indignation and outbursts that make us look foolish in our ignorance. 

Certainly there are issues against which we should stand, and against which we should argue. We do not help the cause of Christ, however, when our arguments are based on emotion rather than truth. 

If those arguing against Jesus had considered their arguments a little closer, perhaps they would have seen things differently. Perhaps they could have refuted their own illogical ideas without looking foolish and could have seen the truth in the words of Jesus. In that same way, we must be informed on the issues of our day, the truth behind the stories, the validity of our causes before we argue with the world. 

Jesus told us that we would know the truth and the truth would set us free. (John 8:32) We do well to remember that the freedom in that promise begins with knowing the truth