As someone who grew up going to church, I have heard all kinds of stuff blamed on Satan. When I was young, I remember Flip Wilson’s famous line, “The Devil made me do it,” and even though we might not say it, sometimes we have that attitude. We think that if Satan tempts us, we have no power over him. In addition, when things aren’t going right for someone–illness, jobs, relationships–we try to make them feel better by saying something like, “The Devil must be working hard on you because you are doing something right.”
Don’t get me wrong. I still believe in the Great Conflict between Christ and Satan. Sin is not deciding to break a list of rules, but is our decision to do it our way instead of God’s way. And that’s what Satan wants. He wants us to seek independence so much that we no longer have God around to help us when that’s needed. We are like five year olds lost in the woods. We think we know the way home, but we really need our Daddy there to take care of us. We just don’t want to admit it.
But that’s not what I am talking about. Just because things go wrong for us doesn’t mean the Devil has amassed his powers against us, that there is some great conspiracy to destroy us, or even just discourage us. Sometimes we ourselves are to blame. Sometimes we just mess up, and when we do, we need to be willing to live with the consequences of our own actions.
I caught myself falling into the Blame the Devil trap earlier today. I am trying a new advertising campaign on Facebook for my Christian novels, and after two good days where sales climbed, suddenly they began to tank. My immediate reaction was, “Well, they must be so good that the Devil is working hard to stop their circulation.”
And then I realized, hey, maybe it’s just me. Sure they had a couple of good days. But sales are like that. Sometimes, as my daddy used to say, you eat the bear; sometimes the bear eats you.
I think the Devil laughs when he hears all the stupid stuff we blame on him. And he also laughs when we take credit that belongs to God. Because anything we do that helps us–or the people we talk to–confuse what God and the Devil are really like, is something that helps Satan. To defeat the enemy, we need to know the enemy.
I may not blame him for my own mistakes in the future, but I sure will blame him for a lot of misery that I see around me.
That’s definitely the Devil’s fault.