But there were also lying prophets among the people then, just as there will be lying religious teachers among you. They’ll smuggle in destructive divisions, pitting you against each other—biting the hand of the One who gave them a chance to have their lives back! They’ve put themselves on a fast downhill slide to destruction, but not before they recruit a crowd of mixed-up followers who can’t tell right from wrong.
They give the way of truth a bad name. They’re only out for themselves. They’ll say anything, anything, that sounds good to exploit you. They won’t, of course, get by with it. They’ll come to a bad end, for God has never just stood by and let that kind of thing go on.
God didn’t let the rebel angels off the hook but jailed them in hell till Judgment Day. Neither did he let the ancient ungodly world off. He wiped it out with a flood, rescuing only eight people—Noah, the sole voice of righteousness, was one of them.
God decreed destruction for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. A mound of ashes was all that was left—grim warning to anyone bent on an ungodly life. But that good man Lot, driven nearly out of his mind by the sexual filth and perversity, was rescued. Surrounded by moral rot day after day after day, that righteous man was in constant torment.
So, God knows how to rescue the godly from evil trials. And he knows how to hold the feet of the wicked to the fire until Judgment Day.
God is especially incensed against these “teachers” who live by lust, addicted to a filthy existence. They despise interference from true authority, preferring to indulge in self-rule. (The Message)
I wish everyone who claims the name of Christ was safe to talk to, interact with, and share life together. However, not everyone is. *Sigh*
Unfortunately, there exists spiritual predators who create chaos, keep others off-balance, and speak and act in ways that benefit their own consolidation of authority. They are like Sith Lords who come-off as well-meaning but always have a secret agenda for more power and control. *Sigh*
So-called teachers and leaders are not all trustworthy. Like mosquitoes drawn to warm blood, they seek to feast on the godly, taking advantage of their good nature – slowly, carefully, and insidiously draining the life out of them. All the while, the true believer doesn’t know what’s going on until it is too late. *Sigh*
Some are even more sinister. Like tarantulas, they immobilize their victims and slowly suck out their insides with the prey’s full awareness. Unable to scream or seek help, they lie in silent pain wishing for a miracle. *Sigh*
Yet, at the same time, none of those false teachers, emotional manipulators, and spiritual charlatans are putting anything over God. The Lord sees it all – and is incensed about it. The ungodly, masking as benevolent authorities, will not be able to carry-on with their hidden agenda of evil forever. Their time will run out. Judgment Day is coming.
The Lord knows how to deliver victims from their victimization. It rarely comes fast enough for us. Nevertheless, the destruction of all injustice is just around the corner. But how do we deal with all the unethical and immoral behavior now!?
We stay the course. Do not give-in to the temptation to play another’s Machiavellian game. The Christian life begins with humility, is sustained by a gentle spirit, embraces right ways of being with others, and typically results in trouble, even persecution. (Matthew 5:1-12)
We strive to always live into personal peace and be peacemakers. We understand that he who is within us is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
We choose to love and pray for our enemies, all the while being wise as serpents and gentle as doves. (Matthew 5:44, 10:16)
We embrace patience and persevere through each frustratingly mad situation, knowing that the Lord has promised to be with us, even until the very end of the age. (James 5:7-12; Matthew 28:20)
We give no one a reason to speak ill of us, blessing others and not cursing them. (Titus 3:2; James 4:11; Romans 12:14)
We trust God in all things, while being careful not to put a pearl necklace around a pig. (Proverbs 3:5-6; Matthew 7:6)
We keep encouraging and affirming others, even when we don’t get encouragement and affirmation ourselves. (Ephesians 4:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13)
We stick to a community of people with like-minded values and refuse to withdraw into isolation. (Galatians 6:2; Philippians 1:27-30)
We follow Christ, our true Teacher and Lord, one day at a time, one step at a time – focusing continually on his words and ways as our polestar through the morass of confusion and iniquity. (Matthew 16:24; John 8:12, 10:27, 12:26; 1 Peter 2:21)
Jesus knew the sobering truth of spiritual predators acting as godly when he said:
Not everyone who calls me their Lord will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only the ones who obey my Father in heaven will get in. On the day of judgment many will call me their Lord. They will say, “We preached in your name, and in your name we forced out demons and worked many miracles.” But I will tell them, “I will have nothing to do with you! Get out of my sight, you evil people!” (Matthew 7:21-23, CEV)
May you remain encouraged in faith, steadfast in hope, and forever in love with the Savior who has loved you and given himself to you.
Christ, light of light, brightness indescribable, the wisdom, power and glory of God, the Word made flesh: you overcame the forces of Satan, redeemed the world, then ascended again to the Father. Grant me, I pray, in this tarnished world, the shining of your splendor. Send your holy angels to defend me, to guard my going out and coming in, and to bring me safely to your presence, where you reign in the one holy and undivided Trinity, now and forever. Amen.