Who is our real enemy – the devil, or each other?

How tragic that we humans see each other as the enemy. Think how many wars have been fought between people who, in peace-time, could well have been the best of friends. And think how many people live and work happily together all their lives who then ferociously turn on each other in a time of war.

How do we get so twisted up that we view each other as enemies? How can millions of people through the centuries be hoodwinked over and over again into picking up arms and killing their fellow humans, when they have nothing personally against them? How can we fall so easily for charismatic leaders justifying the invasion of other countries and killing innocent children? And how come bullying is such a problem in schools and the workplace, as though we actually hate each other and love hurting people? Something is tragically wrong.

Yes there is, but Jesus came to change it. How? 1 John 3:8 – “the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work,” because our real enemy is the devil. It’s not each other. And that really struck me while following a slow driver. For mile after mile a whole trail of us were stuck behind him travelling well below the speed limit, and when, at last, the opportunity came to overtake him he immediately swerved out in front of me without signalling, forcing me to take evasive action. Whether he did it on purpose or not, I do not know, but I realized at that point he wasn’t my enemy. The fact that we’re all driving cars on packed roads with few opportunities to overtake isn’t his fault. The reason we’re all stuck in these ridiculous circumstances is because the devil got to us from the very start.

He’s the enemy, because he got us all thinking we could do without God, and look what we’ve got as a result. We’re into endless situations cropping up where we think of and treat each other as the enemy. I watch siblings, for instance, who stir and poke each other to get a reaction and make the other cry, but when faced by a common enemy they join hands in mutual support. It’s insane. They’d die for each other when others oppose them, but when there’s no opposition they fight each other.

But, as Peter writes in 1 Peter 5:8, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” It helps explain the utter insanity and cruelty we inflict on each other. Somehow the devil has made us into enemies, when, in fact, our only enemy is him.

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