No 616



When I thought about what I wanted to share with you today, I was reminded of a story told by the late Bob Murphy several years ago. In addition to being one of our nation’s great humor speakers, he was also a lawyer. Bob told about this defendant at a pre-trial hearing when she was asked by her lawyer if she knew the opposing lawyer. She said, “Yes, I know him. He’s a crook.” Her lawyer paused for a moment because, as Bob said, “He was happy to get his adversary identified for everybody.” Her lawyer continues by saying, “In all fairness, I will have to ask you if you know me. She says, “Yes, you’re a crook, too.” At this point, the judge bangs his gavel and says, “Order, let’s have order. I would like to have both lawyers approach the bench.” The judge then leans over where no one else could hear him and says, “If either one of you lawyers ask that woman if she knows me, I’m going to hold you in contempt of court.”
For my purpose today I would like to focus on the word “adversary” for just a moment. According to the dictionary, this word means, “One actively hostile to another; an opponent; enemy.” Whether you believe it or not, we all have an adversary in the world today. He is called Satan. Satan is a fallen angel. While he was called Lucifer in Heaven, he is now called Satan or the Devil. The Bible says in I Peter 5:8, “Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.” While doing research for this column, I also learned a little more about the Church of Satan. Certainly I did not spend any time on their Web site, but I do think it’s important that we know our enemy or who we are facing.
As we look back over the pages of history, there have been many people I would call demon-possessed. These are the people who just had to be possessed with an evil spirit to do the things they did to other human beings. The names of Adolph Hitler and Charles Manson were the first two that came to my mind. You could probably add a lot of other people to this list. One thing for sure, Satan or the Devil uses other people to do his work. When we see people fall into the occult, Satan worship, animal sacrifice and doing things to other human beings that defies belief, we really need to be on guard against these influences.
These are the kinds of things that most people don’t think much about unless they are involved in a study on this topic, but as I said, it’s important that we know they exist and are in the world today. While it’s probably the mildest form of Satanism, there are millions of people who are around us each day who are mean-spirited. Most of these people are good people who have suffered real or imagined injustices to the point they have become bitter and are mad at the world and everyone around them. Years ago, I was riding in a car with the late Earl Nightingale, and he said something that really made me mad. Quoting someone else he said, “No one ever falls ill, save idle passersby secretly hope he dies.”
When this thought or saying is placed in context, it may be true. Earl was not talking about family or other loved ones, but rather the people who just knew about these individuals and had no emotional attachment. That is what the term idle passersby is meant to convey. I truly believe that it is worthwhile to consider this thought. We should not be mean-spirited, such as wishing some other person bad luck, tragedy, ill fortune or even death, and most especially when these people are still young and in good health. I share this last thought with the people in mind who are terminal, in bad health and terribly old, and for them to die a natural death would be a blessing.
While none of us likes to admit it, if we should ever find ourselves being mean-spirited, we should first recognize the source and realize that Satan is sifting us like wheat. The great law of cause and effect comes into play here. In life, we all, sooner or later, get back what we first give. When we take care of the causes, the effects will always take care of themselves. Because of this great law we can tell our own fortune, and not just in money. When we want more, all we have to do is give more and we can’t be effective in doing that if we are mean-spirited.
Here is something that really puts what I am saying in context: “Dear Lord. So far today I have done all right. I haven’t lost my temper, haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over-indulgent. I am really glad about that. But Lord, in a few minutes I’m going to get out of bed, and from then on I am really going to need your help.”
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)