Satan At Work
Talk about timing… Last week I wrote about the reality of the devil, and how he works on the world through deceit. We saw Jesus’ estimation of the personality of Satan in John 8:44, where He called him “a murderer from the beginning” and “a liar and the father of lies.” Then, on Saturday, a terrible event happened that proved the existence of evil, and indirectly, the existence of Satan, himself. As I’m sure you know, Saturday morning at around 10 am, Jared Lee Loughner walked into a town hall meeting outside of a shopping center in Tucson, Arizona, and opened fire on the crowd in an attempt to assassinate congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. In his shooting rampage, he killed 6 people – 5 people died immediately, and 1 died later at a hospital. Giffords was among 13 people injured during the shooting, taking a bullet to the head. She is in critical condition.
How does this prove anything, you ask? A lot of the bad things that happen to people can be explained away. A group of teenagers gets killed in a car wreck, and it can be explained away as recklessness or bad decisions like drinking and driving. A man robs a store, and it’s blamed on poverty or drug addiction. Sometimes something happens and we have no one else to blame, so we blame the government. But every once in a while, something happens that is so twisted and so evil, that we are left speechless. Child prostitution. Really? That’s evil. The holocaust? Wow. That’s twisted. A seemingly senseless shooting of a group of innocent people in Tucson, Arizona? Who do we blame for that?
The most heart-wrenching story I’ve read so far is that of 9-year-old Christina Green. The Yahoo! News story talking about the victims of the shooting said:
Suzie Hileman, who sustained three gunshot wounds in Saturday’s attack in Tucson, Ariz., isn’t fully cognizant of recent events due to pain medication but has been crying out for her 9-year-old neighbor in her sleep.
Hileman and neighbor Christina Green were holding hands waiting to meet Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Saturday when shots were fired. Hileman survived the attack. Green did not.
I have a hard time explaining how an innocent child gets murdered. The only explanation I have is that evil exists, and that it poked it’s head up in Tucson, Arizona.
I’m sure a lot of people will just blame Jared Loughner for the shooting. And I do too – if he truly was the shooter (and I don’t think there is much doubt), then he has the blood of all those people on his hands. I’m not taking responsibility away from him. What I am trying to do is shed some light on how these kinds of things happen.
The Los Angeles Times reported that a former girlfriend of Loughner emailed with the statement that “He was completely different back then than he is now. He was very sweet, caring, and kind, had no interest in drugs or alcohol, and had a big interest in music. He didn’t start acting differently until AFTER we had been broken up. While we were still dating he had never shown any signs that he would become the person he is today.” Another former friend described Loughner as “…one of the nicest people I’ve ever known…” So how does a young man, who is described as “nice,” “caring,” and “kind” only a couple of years prior to the shooting become a mass murderer? Some “experts” are saying paranoid schizophrenia, others are saying it’s a combination of political extremism and rhetoric. And although these may have played a part, my explanation is that, over the last few years, Jared Loughner was deceived.
I believe Satan has probably worked in Jared Loughner’s life for many years now, slowly feeding him lies. I’m not sure exactly what motivated Loughner to do what he did – I’m not sure anyone knows – but whatever it was, I believe he was convinced it was the right thing to do (why else would he do it?). He had been deceived into that conviction by one whose main goal is always murder, and whose only tool is lies. Just like Jesus said, Satan was a murder from the beginning, and is a liar and the father of lies.
I understand that most people will be skeptical about my belief. As we talked about last week, Satan’s work is invisible, and for most people, believing only comes through seeing. But the Apostle Paul reminded us that, although our battles in this world seem physical, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Satan is feeding us lies – just like he did Jared Loughner. Most of us aren’t going out and committing murder, but we do make other decisions that are dangerous to our well-being. We’re making poor relationship decisions. We’re making poor financial decisions. If we can come to the realization that our struggle is against the forces of evil, and not against flesh and blood, the battle is half won. We’ve identified our enemy, and after that, we can protect ourselves from his poisonous arrows.