Sunday, January 02, 2005

No Good Flesh

Here are some thoughts contained in Margi's letter to a friend:

("There's never been a kid born yet with good flesh" (and there never will be)...quote from my husband, Richard)

It's a constant thing these days, being aware of the workings of Satan in my flesh and in others. It is a particularly interesting study to me while observing my Kindergarten kids on a daily basis. They certainly do learn early to manifest his presence! Some things are laughable because the children haven't yet developed the cunning they'll learn as they grow - such as hiding a stolen item behind their back, insisting up and down they don't have a clue where it is! But other things are more serious, like Susan who says unbelievably mean things to the other children, who threatens them and bullies them in an attempt to control them, Martha who at the age of 4 has become a master liar, and Devin who has already developed a very defiant, 'nobody's gonna push me around' attitude. Yet, these children are no different at heart than little blue-eyed blonde Jasmine, who has a solid, financially stable homelife surrounded by people who adore her, who to all intents and purposes (in the eyes of the world) would be considered a delightful, lovely little girl - mannerly, honest, considerate of others, a real sweetie-pie.

I struggled with this issue a long time and think I am finally getting a bit of an understanding of it.

I teach in an inner-city school - lots of single-parent homes, moms or dads who switch partners frequently, rampant divorce or common-law living, financial hardship, spousal abuse, etc. I couldn't reconcile how a few of the kids, like Jasmine, will likely have a relatively easy life, meaning, she will be brought up well, will be favoured by teachers because of her sunny disposition, good manners and consideration for others and who will have support at home available for her if she ever struggles academically. Then there's Tyler, living in poverty, whose mom left a violent and emotionally abusive marriage to move in with 'John' who abandoned her after a few months, devastating little Tyler who had grown to love and trust him. His mom criticizes his biological dad constantly, telling Tyler he's no good...which doesn't sound too far off because he constantly tells Tyler he's a burden and a disappointment and that he's going to grow up to be a 'faggot'. Tyler is already doing destructive things, like deliberately slamming the door on his pet cat's tail.

I know both Jasmine and Tyler operate out of their flesh but I couldn't reconcile how different their futures would be - how Jasmine will likely have a relatively easy go of it, while Tyler could conceivably end up (despite his great intelligence) defiant, rebellious, in trouble with the law. It did not compute...until I began to see that the Jasmines of the world have been controlled and manipulated no differently than the Tylers - except in Jasmine's case, Satan manifests himself as good, sweet, lovable, the Salt of the Earth type. However, the world LOVES this type of individual because s/he has 'integrity', lives commendably, is easy to get along with, a do-gooder. Nonetheless, Satan operates out of her choice-maker, her soul, just as effectively as he does out of Tyler. He just appears differently, disguising his perversity under a guise of goodness.

Richard and I were discussing this one day. The Bible admonishes us to raise up our children the way they should go - to be mannerly, to know right from wrong, to be loving and kind. But to me, all we are doing is civilizing them in order that they can function in a fallen world. Otherwise, there'd be mayhem and rioting and murder constantly. When we teach children 'the way they should go', are we not merely teaching them to function out of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? I call this 'Satanic morality'. Neither Jasmine nor Tyler have real life until the day comes that they accept Jesus' finished work on the cross. In some ways, it may be harder for Jasmine even to be able to acknowledge her need for a saviour, because she will have lived such an apparently good, commendable life. Or maybe Tyler will find it difficult to acknowledge the Lord, having hardened his heart for so many years. Either way, Satan does his damndest to ensure NEITHER ever comes to the point of salvation.

I've also become aware of how 'flesh calls to flesh' just as 'spirit calls to spirit'. It's like a subterranean diabolical message system! I've often marvelled at how my own kids have made choices that would be the EXACT opposite of the choices I wanted them to make or thought they would make, or what all the Christian parenting books claimed they would make - because I had raised them so carefully. 'What I feared has [indeed] come upon me'! It seems as if Satan knew just what buttons to push in me, and boy, has he pushed them! I now see this whole scenario, however, as his attempt to hurt me, to wound me, to inspire me to give up or rail against God...and when I say hurt 'me', actually his goal is to get back at the Christ who indwells me. When I recognize and acknowledge this, it helps me to see my kids' choices as tools, and my kids being used as pawns by the devil in this cosmic battle. They, of course, don't see this at all, but it certainly helps me to put things in proper perspective. I'm not saying it doesn't hurt - I'm saying I'm beginning to see it for what it is. I just wish I could get my kids to understand this! They have no concept that the enemy of their soul is manipulating them for his own sick purposes.

One more thing - it is apparent to me that we are beginning, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, to see behind the curtain. I don't know why we have been allowed to do so, but it makes us soberly vigilant. We are well aware that the world at large and most Christians would gnash their collective teeth over this issue. I don't know what the Lord has in store for us but I don't think it's gonna be least this side of heaven! I'm also very aware of the state of world affairs and how nations appear to be getting into position to usher in some disturbing new realities.

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