Sunday, December 27, 2015

This week's lesson (December 26-January 1): Crisis in Heaven

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -- Theodore Roosevelt
It's a dirty job.

But everyone loves to do it.

In the Hebrew Bible, remember, "the satan" functions as a kind of auditor, much like the Persian Empire's "eyes of the king" or a police department's "Internal Affairs Division." 

Yes, he roams God's kingdom in a cheap suit with a battered briefcase, looking for accounts that don't balance, policies that aren't followed, and decisions that haven't been thought through quite as well as they should.

He's a Devil's Advocate, in other words, in more ways than one.

And there's nothing wrong with this per se -- no, every organization needs its gadflies and its "murder boards," just to keep people on their toes.

Unfortunately, this particular "satan" took himself a little too seriously (which is always a temptation in staff jobs) . . . and something that began as "constructive criticism" turned into a corrosive cynicism about everything but himself.

Not that we've ever done this, of course.

Still, it's worth remembering that speaking the truth must always be done in love (Ephesians 4:15).

And yes, it may be your job to speak that truth -- to be "the Devil's Advocate," so to speak.

But try not to love it too much.

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