Sadly, the church has its share of manipulative people. I’m reading the book “Under the Banner of Heaven” which is about a religious “Mormon” sociopath who killed his baby niece, his sister-in-law and his brother under the guise that he was “doing God’s will.” Years later, he still believed he’d done the work of God and had no remorse for the murders. (I guess he missed that part of the commandments that read, “That Shall Not Kill.”)
The church is not immune to these types of people who wield Scripture as a weapon to get people to act the way they want. Case in point, recently a young lawyer was told by a defendant that she was doing Satan’s work by being in the law. He told her the Bible says we are to settle things amongst each other and she must have a demon in her to be in her field. Only this defendant hadn’t settled things amongst the others — that’s why he was in court. He wanted the other party to do his will (not God’s) and when the client didn’t comply, he went after the lawyer’s weak spot. (Questioning her very vocation!)
As Christians, we want to do what is right, what is holy. So we are very susceptible to someone who questions our actions. We want to make sure that we are right with the Lord and there is no truth in their words. Our “weakness” in wanting to appear godly can cripple us in the hands of the wrong leaders. That is why we are called to be as wise as serpents.
The wonderful thing about the Bible is everything can be tested against Scripture. In this case, nothing in the defendant’s words showed any fruits of the spirit. There was no love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness or self-control in the man’s words. There were harsh accusations and vile name-calling — and because that is so out-of-the-ordinary in the church, often, these types are believed — without any corresponding evidence. People can question their own motives. Because why would anyone say this person is demonic if there wasn’t something there?
As our world gets more self-absorbed and dysfunctional, I ask that you please judge anyone on the basis of their character — not the character assassination of someone who doesn’t want to remedy the situation. Anyone with a godly motive wants someone to be restored to the church in full and will do anything to help them get there. Good people are not interested in destroying someone’s character to “win.”
If you know someone who makes you question your motives, check yourself against Scripture and be sure you don’t get involved in destroying someone’s character on the basis of a false accusation. After hearing this story, I read this verse:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
Anyone with a godly motive should want you to have life and have it to the full. They shouldn’t want to destroy you under the guise of “doing God’s work.” Be wary of this kind of manipulation. It is like yeast in the dough and it will permeate every part of the Body of Christ.